Two days ago Ted Williams was standing on the side of the road panhandling.  He carried a sign which read, “I have a God-given gift of voice. I am an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times.  Please! Any help will be greatfully [sic] appreciated. Thank you and God bless you. Happy holidays.”

Someone pushed a phone camera through their car window and asked him to show them that radio voice.  And he did.  Did he ever!  In a polished and trained voice, he said, “When you’re listening to ‘Nothing But the Best of Oldies,’ you’re listening to Magic 98.9.”  And for a moment, you had to check to see if your radio was on.  He definitely had the voice. He wasn’t kidding.

The video went viral, and a local television station in Columbus sent someone out with a camera, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Only this story is a little more remarkable than most.  In forty-eight hours Ted Williams has probably had more offers for work and help than he has had his entire life accumulated.

Kraft has him taping for some macaroni and cheese spots today.  The Cleveland Cavaliers have offered him a job as their announcer.  And he has had to get someone to field all the offers and help him make the right choices.  Today he has choices. Three days ago he had nothing but the hope that someone might give him a dollar on the street corner.

His interview with Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera was heartwarming.  He is a grateful man.  It was hard not to wipe a tear listening to him recount losing a life to alcohol and drugs.  Since most of us have been affected by drugs in some way, it is easy to connect with him.  Most families have someone whose life has been ruined or drastically altered because of drugs.  Sometimes it is easy to give up hope for those who are ravaged.

And then comes Ted Williams.  Lauer asked him if he thought he could handle the new-found pressure of offers and opportunities, of attention, and, of course, the money that will shortly come to him.  And Mr. Ted Williams told him why he thought he could.  “This time around, Matt, I have God.”

He went on to describe a transformation that he attributed to God.  In years gone by, he told them, “I didn’t acknowledge the Lord, or thank him for anything… but this time around, I’m acknowledging him in all my ways.”

Lauer complimented him that on the video that went viral he seems to be a thankful and humble man, saying things like thank you, and God bless you to anyone who spoke.  He asked where that came from, and Williams said, “My mom.”  He went on to tell how she had taught him to “do unto others as you would want them to do unto you, the golden rule, as she always put it.”   And then this:  “I always used to pray to God, religiously, ‘Lord please let my mom live to see another year, maybe this would be the year, when somebody would say, ‘Hey, man, you want a job?'”

His mom can be proud today.  And so can his children.  He comes to the limelight as a humble man, wise about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and wiser still about the power of God over both!  God love Ted Williams!

I was fully prepared to yawn my way through another National Day of Prayer. Forgive me for not sharing the ecumenical enthusiasm so many others seem to have.
I find prayer to be a very personal and real connection to the God I believe in. I know Him as Jesus Christ. That is my personal belief. I didn’t get the concept from the government. I didn’t ask the government’s permission to have it. It is my faith, and I exercise my belief in it on a daily basis, and would do so with or without the government’s consent.

This year’s National Day of Prayer has been met with the typical nonsense of the politically correct crowd. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb recently ruled that it was unconstitutional, that it violates the First Amendment. The Pentagon invited, then disinvited Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, to be a speaker at its event on the National Day of Prayer. Why? Because he called Islam a bad religion after 9/11 when Muslims blew up the Twin Towers to punish the Satan America.

This government does not acknowledge that we are a Christian nation. Obama himself said, “We are no longer a Christian nation.” And you know that with the scrutiny of the ACLU and other anti-Christian organizations this White House will do nothing that might be interpreted as favoring religion. In fact, in light of Crabb’s ruling, perhaps Obama won’t even sign the proclamation naming a National Day of Prayer.

Make no mistake about it, a National Day of Prayer has to be inclusive of all religions. In many meetings around the country stages will enjoy Muslims, Rabbis, Christians, and Hindus, and maybe even Buddhists to speak and lead in prayers.

No thanks. Prayer is not a public ceremony to me. And I’m hard headed enough to believe that prayer to a non-existent god is a waste of time and energy. Prayer to a statue is meaningless. Prayer to “something” is pointless. Forgive me for yawning.

But I did get excited the other day when Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia thumbed his nose at the ACLU, and reversed his predecessor’s ruling that Chaplains could not pray in Jesus name. McDonnell decided that if you believe in Jesus, you’re entitled to pray in His name. Oh goody. Now chaplains have permission to pray to the God they actually believe in.

Don’t worry, the attorney general will probably file suit to force the Chaplains back to mediocre prayer to nothing. Even some Christians are whining that the governor has opened the door for people to pray to Allah, or even, gasp, Satan.

Good! If someone believes in Allah, he ought to be able to pray to Allah, and I can sit silently by while he does. Even he worships Satan, and wants to pray to him, let him. It’s his right. My God isn’t frightened by it.

So, anyway, next Thursday is National Prayer Day. If you haven’t prayed since last year, by all means grab this opportunity.

President Obama met with Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu, but you’d hardly know it. There was no invitation to the press. Absolutely no photo ops. You won’t see photos of the two men standing, smiling, shaking hands in tomorrow’s newspaper. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton probably had a more substantial meeting, but even that didn’t get much attention.

You won’t hear much about Netanyahu’s concession to endorse a two-state solution, or his restricting West Bank settlement growth for ten months. But you will hear that while Vice President Biden was visiting Israel recently a new housing project was announced in the media in Israel. Oh, but not to worry, Mr. Biden punished Mr. Netanyahu by arriving ninety minutes late for a scheduled dinner.

The obvious cold shoulder shown to Israel’s prime minister may have a deeper connotation. Remember, this is the same American president who met with King Abdullah of Jordan last year, and rolled out the red carpet. The press got many photo ops. King Abdullah was here to ask the president to push Israel to accept the two-statement solution, and to push the Arab Initiative of 2002 which demands that Israel go back to the borders of pre-1967.
Remember, too, that this is the president who wrote in his book Audacity, “I will stand with them [the Muslims] should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” In that same paragraph he states that Judeo-Christian heritage will recede as an all-religions country emerges.

What did we expect would happen when he became President? Did we expect him to continue America’s long tradition of cooperation with Israel. Did we really think that he would continue to recognize the danger Israel faces by the leaders of the extreme Arab nations? Do most Americans honestly not know that Ahmadinejab prays for a world without Israel and the United States in it? Perhaps Americans should just Google “World Without Zionism” and read some quotes.

The problem we “Judeo-Christians” -we vanishing people of a previous heritage in America- face is that we have very clear reasons why we think we should stand with Israel, and they have nothing to do with politics. No, we vanishing people happen to believe in the Bible, and the Bible shows that God has chosen to use Israel as a “clock” for the timing of the end, and as a “litmus test,” if you please, to determine who is favored by God and who is not favored.

In Numbers 24 Balaam was hired by Balak to pronounce a curse against Israel, and he went out to do so. But he could not, for he saw “that it pleased to Lord to bless Israel.” And in his discovery comes the phrase directed at Israel as a people, “Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you” (24:9). Now, we Christians know that is not a commandment for us, but we cannot ignore the content.

Israel played a huge role in giving us our favorite Jew, Jesus Christ. And most of us believe that Israel still has a place in prophecy. Nations are going to come against her in the end, and God is going to cause her to prevail. We can’t talk about that in politics. It sounds foolish and naive.
It’s just the mutterings of a vanishing people, the ever-fading Judeo-Christian.

Here we go again. Some congressmen are pushing President Obama to hurry up with immigration reform, and one of their key initiatives is the implementation of “biometric national identification cards.” Senators Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) just postponed a meeting with the President for the second time. It is likely that they are simply reacting to sharp criticism from advocates.

But mark this down: this congress will push the issue of immigration reform, and they will include a demand for biometric national ID cards. Biometric ID cards will necessarily contain virtually all of your personal information – banking, health, insurance, and more – and will require your bodily engagement to be effective, i.e., either your thumbprint or handprint, or eye scan. And of course there are those who believe the card is the first step to an implanted chip similar to those used now on pets, and approved by the FDA in 2004 for human implants.

The CEO of PositiveID (formerly VeriChip), Scott Silverman, said on Fox & Friends in 2006 that immigrant workers ought to be “chipped” to track them and monitor their taxes. It should be noted that PositiveID is a new company which resulted from the merger of VeriChip and Steel Vault, the people behind Am I the only one that wonders at the connection between a company which manufactures human microchip implants and credit reporting companies?

The disturbing thing about the senators who are about to push for immigration reform which will include a biometric I.D. is that they won’t discuss other methods of controlling illegal immigration. There are so many other options short of building walls. Every small town in America knows where its illegal workers hang out, and who hires them. But nothing is done because local law enforcement knows they don’t have the support of the ICE or other federal agencies.

And think about this. Currently illegal immigrants are able to work without providing one shred of documentation. No driver’s license. No Social Security card. They just work for cash with no reporting. Now how exactly is the requirement for everyone to have a biometric ID card going to change that?
The illegals will still work under the radar, no license, no SS card, and no National ID card. The only people genuinely targeted by such “immigration reforms” are the legal people who are already carrying every ID card required, and paying taxes on their income.

When Senator Schumer was told small businesses would have to pay $800 for a scanner just to scan employees, his response for the business owner was, “He can just go down to the DMV.” What an ignorant response for a man voting on the life and welfare of every human being in America. Like the DMV is going to welcome local businessmen lining up to scan their employees. Or like you need the extra people in line when you’re trying to buy tags for your car, or renew your driver’s license.
Nothing surprises me coming out of congress anymore. But some things do frighten me.

I was disappointed watching the Academy Awards 2010. Not at the hosts. I thought Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were funny! I thought they teamed up to provide a welcome “show within the show.”

And no, I wasn’t disappointed at the winners. I thought Bridges was due, and I thought Sandra Bullock was actually humble in her acceptance. And I thought the movie she won for was a wonderful example of how Hollywood can once in a while come through with something mainstream Americans can warm up to.

No, my disappointment was more about something that didn’t happen rather than something that happened. For the last few years I’ve watched certain Hollywood celebs use their Oscars night to either bash former president Bush, or to make an impassioned plea to “bring our soldiers home!” Their compassion was convincing as they spoke of our young men and women dying “over there.” In particular, I watched Sean Penn on some Youtubes demanding that Bush be impeached because he had put our young people in an improper war, and demanding that democrats, when they were in control, bring our troops home.

And does anyone remember Barbra Streisand’s outrage? I know there were others, but the two I named were actually at the Oscars, and had a speaking role. What a great opportunity for Streisand to talk about how we have tripled the number of soldiers in Afghanistan that we had when Bush left office. And we still have troops dying in Iraq. Penn had a golden opportunity to simply say, “Bring our troops home.” Surely they haven’t forgotten their numerous speeches in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

But, alas, there was not a word about our dying soldiers in a bad war. I don’t get it. If they were dying unnecessarily two years ago, how is it that they are now dying well? If compassion cried out for them two years ago, what happened to that compassion?

So I was disappointed that, at the Oscars, some of the celebrities who have been so filled with compassion for our troops in the past seem to have lost their compassion. Some who wanted, no, demanded, an immediate end to the war, seem to now embrace the tripling of troops in Afghanistan. Ain’t politics something?

I mean, it makes you want to ask, “Where is Cindy Sheehan?” I know she didn’t have anything to do with the Oscars, but she was famous for camping outside Bush’s Texas ranch and protesting the soldiers being in Iraq. But to be fair to her, did you know she actually tried to do the same thing last August when Obama was vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard? Yep. She went there to camp and protest just like she did Bush. She went there to tell Obama to get the troops home. But you didn’t see her on TV protesting Obama’s war, did you? Nope. Hollywood must now approve of it. That’s all I can guess after watching this year’s Oscars.

I have noticed that a number of radio or television ministers are speaking about America’s need for a revival.  Sometimes it is a genuine call from ministers who are agonizing over the demise of godliness in America, and sometimes it is simply a “get on the bandwagon” response to what’s current.

At any rate, the troubling thing about the call to Revival is that it is so “corporate.”  It is not directed at us individually, but at America generally.  And that’s the rub, so to speak.

As long as we sit silently by, lending our “Amen!” to a stirring sermon, then hurrying to dinner, and hurrying home to grab the remote and watch our nightly nonsense, and then spending six days away from church, and from our devotional sense of God, then revival will not come to America.

Because revival must be an individual thing.  I… YOU… WE must have revival.  We must examine ourselves.  We must pray. We must repent. We must change.  We must intercede.  We.  Not America.  Not them. Not those “cold” churches.   We. 

I love preaching to others.  I hate preaching to me.  I love trying to change the guy going the wrong way.  I hate trying to change my own habits, and trying to break out of my complacency.  Sometimes the tide has to turn against us before we get serious about changing.  And that being said, perhaps the greatest indication that revival is possible in America is the obvious media turn against Christianity.

The media was not really mean to Rev. Jeremiah Wright for his anti-America “God-d*** America” sermon.  Not really.  But have you see the vitriolic response of some to Brit Hume’s comments to Tiger Woods about finding Christ?

Forget revival coming to America.  Pray for revival to come to you.  If enough of “you” and “I” can genuinely have a revival of faith and character and courage, then it will automatically come to our “land.”    (2 Chron. 7:14)

NBC is already coming out with a special show called “The Secret Life of Tiger Woods.”  Two or three of the women with whom Tiger was intimate are already on “news” shows giving interviews.  And they sound so innocent.  Not evil and nasty like him.  Not secretive or seductive.  Just sweet women minding their own business until Tiger swooped down and fooled them into having a relationship.  Do I sound cynical?

Our obsession with gossip is troubling.  We almost seem to think we have a “right” to know the sordid details of anyone’s private affairs.   “They’re in the public eye,” one commentator justified, “and that gives the public the right to know.”  We don’t think or care about the other lives affected by our pursuit of the latest, dirtiest tidbit.  Standing in line at a grocery store scanning the covers of the magazines (“We’re the First to Break the Story of…”) reminds me that gossip is a business.  A high-dollar business.

The biblical command to forgive is complicated by the daily deluge of dirt.  The admonition to pray for those who have fallen, or to “go to your brother” if you see him at fault don’t even enter our thinking when it comes to “public” figures.

Perhaps a fallen public figure gives us a sense of betterment.   Perhaps our own “private sins” are perceived as not quite as bad as theirs.  So we feel better about ourselves.  Because we’re “not as bad.”   But if the same scrutiny placed on the private lives of the rich and famous was placed on us, who could stand?  If you had all your phone records revealed, and all your internet site visits revealed, and all your angry comments made public, and all your private conversations displayed, how would you come across to strangers?  Would they disdain you?  Would they understand that none of that stuff was “the real you”?

Why does our opinion about another person’s failings matter?  Who cares what we, or any celebrity, “thinks” about another’s fall?  An interviewer asked a celebrity, “What do you think Tiger was thinking?”   I just sat shaking my head.  Who knows? Who cares?

I pray for Tiger’s wife and children.  His family suffers, probably for a lifetime.  They will never be allowed to live a “normal” life.  I pray for the women he used, and who used him.  They are not innocent either.  But they have families.  Whether they have pride in their seduction, or shame, is not the point.  They are affected, and they affect all of us in some way.  We become jaded.  We expect less and less of those held up in esteem.  We trust no one.

I pray for Tiger himself.  He may have been surprised to discover what money and fame could buy.  He may have lacked maturity to understand the consequences of his actions. He may have lacked a moral compass. I don’t know.  I just know he still needs to find forgiveness.  He still needs to find direction for the rest of his life.  He is human, after all.  Whatever you would need if your sins found you out, he needs, too.

It may surprise a handful of Christians that the Bible warns, “he that utters a slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18).  “Slander” is the Hebrew dibbah translated “evil report, defamation, whispering.”   I can’t be responsible for the programming of television shows.  But I can choose what I watch.   I choose not to watch the “evil report, defamation, whispering” of those who feed on gossip.  They are fools.

For those of you who were unable to attend this year’s Fun Fall Festival, we were fortunate enough to have captured the final performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (in high-definition). Catch the video below: