Tensions Between Former Spouses Surface Over Boyfriend Texting Children

Since our divorce was finalized in June of 2010, my former spouse and I for the most part have gotten along quite well. Sure, there are those moments of tension and frustration that creep up at times and until recently a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting would clear things up. But yesterday the conversation took at downward turn over a request I made for another man to stop texting my children.

After my ex-wife introduced our children to a man she has been dating for some time, he quickly began building a relationship with the children. From the outside looking in this is nothing unusual. The kids tell me he is a nice guy with a great dog.

While texting may sound innocent enough, I have two primary concerns. The first time my children met this man was the weekend of September 27, only a few days after his divorce was final. Two weekends later he saw the children again and started texting them the following Monday. I believe it is too soon for this type of daily communication to begin.

The conversation thread with my 14-year old son dealt primarily with sports; who was going to win this weekend’s football games or the World Series. With my 10-year old daughter the conversation was about sweet nothings and how he wanted to take her to her favorite restaurant for his birthday dessert.

“Good morning Sweet Pea,” was how he would begin a morning conversation with my daughter. With my son, he chatted about batting practice. “Hit’em long and straight,” he wrote and then talk about how tall and big he was getting and how lifting weights might help him fill out.

But my focus was quickly drawn to comments made about my son finding a place to lift weights in the Kansas City area, which happens to be where he lives. It appears to me the two adults have been discussing long-term plans that involve her relocating to this area with the intent of taking the kids with her. That opens another can of worms that will need to be addressed separately.

There are multiple and complex issues here. After discovering the text messages when monitoring my sons phone for appropriate comments with friends, I in turn texted the boyfriend and immediately requested he stop texting with my children. He quickly responded and offered a short apology. We agreed to talk the next week.

The following Monday morning my ex-wife called to discuss the situation and soon the conversation went south. She wanted to clarify if my request was just for the time the children were with me or was I asking him to stop texting the children entirely?

Have friends of mine, even female friends texted our children before? Yes they have, however the tone of the conversation (mainly about music, church or horses) never involved a reference to relocating to their town or rose to the frequency of them texting the kids every morning before they go to school or at night before bed.

Their dating relationship is certainly no concern of mine. But when young children, whose emotional maturity has not yet reached the point where they can process and deal with such complex relationship matters, then that’s where the contact needs to be restricted or end.

You may be wondering if and how the issue was resolved.

My former spouse was upset that I even made the request for her boyfriend to stop texting demanded to know if my request only applied to when the kids were with me or all the time and furthermore, my response would determine what how she would handle this and other legal issues we are trying to resolve.

In a separate conversation with him he told me he respected my role as the children’s father, but after talking with the children’s mother felt it was okay to text the children when they are not with me.

My preference and hope this is not indicative of how parenting decisions will be made as long as his guy is in the picture. Yet I wonder why a man who was introduced to my children less than a month ago and who has three children of his own believes texting my children is a necessity at this stage in this young relationship?

Toby Mac, Matt Redman Capture Top Honors at 44th Annual Dove Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Gospel Music Association’s 44th Annual Dove Awards returned to Nashville this year to honor a host of recording artists in all genres of Christian music. Hosted by Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin, the performance showcased artists such as TobyMac, Big Daddy Weave, Sidewalk Prophets, Lecrae and newcomer Colton Dixon.

TobyMac walked away with the coveted Artist of the Year honors, and “10,000 Reasons (Bless My Soul)” by Matt Redman was named Song of the Year, beating out 20 others including “Forgiveness,” “Live Like That” and “Redeemed.”

A resident of Franklin, Tenn., TobyMac also won the award for Contemporary Song of the Year and has gained a reputation for working alongside up- and-coming artist. He talked about his experiences with these new performers and how they motivate him to be a stronger artist himself.

“So many times when I work with new artist all they think about is what they’re going to learn from me when in fact I learn so much from them – it’s just amazing,” TobyMac told reporters during the show.

Not only did he earn top song honors, Redman also led the evenings winners with six awards followed by TobyMac and Jason Crabb, with four each. Tasha Cobb and producer Wayne Haun scored three each. Chris Tomlin, Tamela Mann and LeCrae scored two each.

Devin McGlamery, the lead singer with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, along with Daily & Vincent took County Song of the Year honors with “From My Rags to His Riches.” “It’s such a great honor to win at the Dove Awards this year and I’m excited the show is back in Nashville too,” McGlamery told CP soon after his award was presented in a pre-show ceremony.

Praise and Worship Album of the Year went to Chris Tomlin. “It’s been an amazing year and I give all the glory to Jesus for the incredible ride He is taking us on. Winning a Dove Award is an honor and I couldn’t do without the help of my band and lots of people who make this possible.”

In the growing style of Christian Rap, LeCrae took home top honors with “Gravity,” and he also presented an award during the show.

Highlights of the evening included touching tributes by Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys, to Billy Graham. Talented vocalists Karen Peck, Daily & Vincent, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and The Isaacs honored the Gaither Vocal Band in a stunning collaboration of “He Touched Me.”

Country legend Alan Jackson was awarded the Outstanding Mainstream Contribution to Gospel Music Award. The honor is given to an artist or entity outside of Christian Music who helps bring the gospel to a wider audience.

Are There Still Enough Value Voters to Turn American Red?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Family Research Council kicked off their annual Values Voter Summit in the nations capitol on Friday with an all-star line of potential GOP presidential candidates and rising political stars attempting to motivate the social base of the conservative movement. But are there enough “values voters” who will vote to make a difference in the 2014 and 2016 elections?

Gauging by the response at the weekend event in Washington, the answer is “yes,” albeit the attendees are heavily weighted in their political leanings. The challenge that conservative operatives (or Karl Rove wannabes) must contemplate as they gaze into their crystal balls is can they light a fire under those same types of voters who reside in the nations heartland and are trying to balance a family budget while figuring out how Obamacare might impact their health care cost?

Tony Perkins, the CEO of the Family Research Council and host of the weekend’s summit expressed optimism that value voters will show up at the polls in the next two election cycles.

“Yes, I’m confident value voters across this land will flock to the polls if more candidates like Ted Cruz run for office,” Perkins told me while shuffling between meetings during the conference. “2008 and 2012 were challenging years but 2010 demonstrated when fiscal conservatives join their social brethren, we can make significant changes in the White House, Congress and state legislatures. The impact of redistricting between ’10 and ’12 will have a tremendous impact for decades.”

Case in point; Cruz won the VVS straw poll with 42 percent of the vote, 29 points above the second place finisher, Dr. Ben Carson.

Perkins has a point with his redistricting comment. State legislatures who moved from blue to red or changed from a lighter shade to a darker shade of red drew district boundaries that will make it increasingly difficult for Democrats to make inroads in Congress or the State House anytime soon. That’s a lesson they learned from the Democrats in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Demographics show us that bright blue states are primarily in the northeast and on the west coast. The only challenge is states like New York, New Jersey and California are more populous than the red states of Mississippi, Montana or Missouri. This is why liberals want to eliminate the Electoral College.

But is the Republican Party apparatus still willing to embrace social conservatives given some Republicans changing attitudes toward gay marriage and abortion?

“You bet they will,” said another national evangelical leader who spoke off the record. “I had a conversation with Reince [Priebus] last week and he’s starting to understand the fact that the GOP cannot – and I mean has no chance to win without the social conservatives. He knows he has to communicate that to the business types so we can work together. He’s on board.”

All of the GOP senators addressing the Value Voter Summit such as Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) proclaimed the conservative base of the GOP is alive, well and growing. So what do the numbers say?

RealClear Politics Sean Trende wrote an interesting column in November of 2012 discussing why white voters stayed home in 2012.

In 2008, 98.6 million white voters showed up at the polls compared with 16.3 million blacks (95 percent of whom voted form Obama) and 11 million Hispanics.

Fast-forward to 2012 and about 7 million fewer white voters showed up and a million or so more Hispanics turned out. The percentage of black voters remained steady, although fewer of them voted for Obama a second time; but not enough to matter.

The easy translation is that values voter strategists need to maintain their support with white males while attracting more white females and Hispanic voters. It’s the latter that has proved difficult since the more hardcore conservatives insist that illegal immigrants be deported and a 50-foot wall built to secure our borders. It’s also put Rubio in a precarious situation given his recent position of advocating a path to citizenship for many illegals.

Maybe the government shutdown will encourage more value voters to show up for the next two major election cycles. Chances are there will be another controversial issue in the coming months that will fire them up. But for Republicans to win value voters must equal of surpass their 2000 and 2010 percentages and recruit more Ted Cruz lookalikes.

This column was originally published in The Christian Post at http://www.christianpost.com/news/are-there-still-enough-value-voters-to-turn-american-red-106549/

Jordan’s Historical and Christian Sites Are Worth a Middle Eastern Journey

AMMAN, Jordan – Just the mention of traveling to the Middle East today may raise red flags given all the unrest the region is experiencing. However my recent weeklong tour of Jordan left me with a new understanding and appreciation for a country I can only describe as an oasis of glistening water in an unsettled desert.

I had the privilege of being part of a delegation of religious journalists invited as guest of the country’s tourism bureau to experience the country. Having never traveled to the Middle East I was a bit leery about the trip, as were my family and friends. I had to ask myself if I would be safe during our journey and would my experience make a lasting impression in my faith walk.

The answer; yes and yes.

I’ve traveled extensively in the U.S. and made trips to other second and third world countries and I must admit, I felt safer in Jordan than I usually do walking in some U.S. cities. As with any unfamiliar destination you visit, using common sense and following standard safety rules should keep you safe and secure in this Middle East country.

Jordanians are warm and hospitable people and welcomed our group with open arms as we traveled to the country’s most significant historical destinations. Tourism is an important component of Jordan’s economy and due to the various levels of unrest in some of the neighboring countries; the number of people seeing its sights has diminished over the last few years. Hopefully that will soon change.

The five days spent on the ground were a whirlwind of activity that took us from the mountainous northern terrain near the Sea of Galilee at Umm Qays to Wadi Rum, to the shores of the Dead Sea.

The capitol city of Amman, like most major metropolitan areas, is highly “westernized” yet still able to preserve the country’s long Arabic culture. With its unique blend of old and new, Amman’s most unique historical destination is what is known as the Citadel – a hill with ruins of the Temple of Hercules, an Ummayyad Place and a Byzantine Church. Capping this destination off is a 6,000 seat Roman theatre.

Umm Qays offered us a look at how various cultures occupied and fought for some of the most critical trade routes in the last three thousand years. As you stand in the shadows of fourth century Roman ruins you can look out onto the Golan Heights while seeing the distant Israeli city of Tiberias on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee where the Bible tells the story of Jesus chasing demons out of a man.

Although approximately 95 percent of Jordanians claim Islam as their religion, the country is immersed with Christian history.

With all its amazing sites, my favorite day by far was our visit to Bethany Beyond the Jordan and Mount Nebo. Biblical accounts in the Old Testament confirm how God granted a special place to the land that is now Jordan. Elijah, one of the most important Old Testament prophets ventured into the area with Elisha and it was there that he ascended into Heaven.

Just steps away you can find what is believed to be the cave where John the Baptist lived and the stream where he baptized hundreds of Christians including Jesus. Nothing can compare to seeing the recently discovered spot where Jesus began his earthy ministry to ponder the possibility I may have walked on the same ground that Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter or John walked on was a bit overwhelming.

To my astonishment, his site was uninhabited for decades due to tension between Israel and Jordan, but in 1994 the minefields were cleared and excavation uncovered the churches and prayer halls that Christians built early in the first century.

A short bus ride from the Israeli border carried us to Mount Nebo where Moses looked upon the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley and the distant hills of Jerusalem; what God told him was the “Promise Land.” Moses is believed to have died near the site and for centuries Christians made their way here to commemorate the end of his life. Some of the same stones from a fourth century church remain in their original place with great care being taken to preserve the mosaic floors that for years have been left exposed.

Our trip concluded with a visit to the ancient city of Petra, named one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Of all the amazing photographs I have seen of this treasure city that lies deep inside a valley accessible only by a 25-minute walk, videos or still images cannot do justice to its awe and simple beauty.

Petra’s most famous monument – commonly referred to as “The Treasury” – was not an early day Wall Street but a burial chamber for the city’s wealthy citizens. After being deserted by residents in the aftermath of seventh century earthquakes, it was rediscovered by a Scottish explorer in 1812.

But if it’s sunsets you’re looking for, seeing the sun fall behind the mountains that dot the desert landscape of Wadi Rum is breathtaking.

Would I go back to Jordan? In a heartbeat if simply to continue my exploration of the great Christian historic sites that lie within its boundaries. I would also urge you to make it part of any Middle Eastern visit you have planned, especially if it involves a trip to Israel. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Holly Starr, 20, Uses Own Struggles, Including Body Image, as Inspiration for New Album, ‘Focus’

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Holly Starr never imagined her experience working on her family’s farm in Quincy, Wash., would propel her to a career in Christian music, but then again the former athlete knows exactly how to combine a devoted work ethic with pure talent to make her dreams a reality.

While her music education began with the piano, it was making both words and music come together that stimulated the budding artist. “I believe songwriting is a gift from God but I’ve had to work hard at developing the skill,” she explained.

Her new CD, Focus, is now out and is packed with ten songs Starr believes come from the bottom of her heart and that will speak to people on a number of issues. “Let’s Go,” the title track “Focus” and “Satisfied are just a few of the songs featured on her CD.

Holly Starr headshot

Starr sat down with The Christian Post between writing sessions in Nashville and a trip back to her hometown to talk about her acquired songwriting talent and what life for a 20-year-old is like. Throughout the interview she gives readers a glimpse of how the struggles of a young woman can be overcome by listening to God reveal His true plan for our lives. And it seems He has big plans for this small-town farm girl.  Her next venture will involve the Breakout Tour that will begin later this week. OBB and Mr. Talk Box, who is a part of Tobymac’s band, will also be performing.  The tour opens Sept. 21 at the Hopkins Civic Center in Sulphur Springs, Texas, with dates into October. Check out her latest works at www.hollystarrmusic.com.

CP: What was the turning point in your life that has influenced your music?

Starr: In sixth grade I began taking voice lessons from a lady who was also a songwriter. She helped me as I transitioned from classic music to leading worship on our worship team at church and she helped me learn how to lead from a piano. I also thought if I could lead a worship song I could write these types of songs too.

CP: What were the biggest influences on your music at that time?

Starr: Spiritually, I get most of my influences from a number of artists, especially Chris Tomlin. To this day he is a huge influence on my music. From the standpoint of a worship leader there are not many who rise to his level and I really look up to him. He’s had to give up so much in his life.

CP: Do you see yourself as more of an artist or a worship leader?

Starr: Definitely a worship leader. No doubt about it. That’s something that has been surfacing a lot for me. I like to speak from the stage and in my heart I know I’m a worship leader.

CP: Outside of your passion for music, did you have what most would consider a normal childhood?

Starr: Oh yes. I grew up in such a small town that it could not help but be normal. Sure, I had dreams of singing and performing on big stages but my life centered on my family and what I was doing at the time with school and friends.

When I was about 15 I felt God’s call to music and thought I needed to invest more time in it, but it still didn’t consume my life. I did spend more time writing and with my worship team and that’s when God started opening doors. At the same time he called me to stop spending so much time with some of the sports I was engaged in and that’s another reason I spent more time with my music. It was all these doors He was opening and closing. I worked in a small café in town, worked on the farm and did all the others things young high school girls do and then one day a producer heard one of my songs and contacted me. It was so cool.

CP: Growing up as a teenage girl today is obviously a challenge. How did you cope with these issues and how do you help others young girls today?

Starr:  I attended a Christian school until I was in the sixth grade and then went to a public school afterward. I’ve always had a huge passion for Jesus and an evangelist heart and felt called to share Jesus with my friends. When I started in public school and saw things I didn’t like I invited people to youth group.

But after I started attending high school something crept into my life and I struggled with it and that was my body image. I ran track and at that time I became overwhelmed with the way my body looked and someone made a comment to me around that time – he didn’t mean it in a mean way but the way he said it just drove a stake through my heart.

(Her male track coach made the comment Holly referred to. “You don’t look like you did last year” was what he said. Although she insists the comment was not intended in a mean way, it would take her years to overcome the pain associated with that those few words.)

I thought, well, I don’t understand why he said that but then I thought I need to look like I did last year. From that point on everything I did, everything I ate was done to get me back to the point my coach thought I needed to be. I weigh myself every morning and was obsessed with that number. I just remember struggling with that pretty intensely. It was about a five-year struggle and up until the end of the fifth year, which was last year, I started to get control of the issue.

I just remember hearing a pastor speak and say we should not have anything between God and us. Yet I knew this issue was standing between us and I knew I had to get rid of that one issue. I had been idoling myself – the way I looked – and was placing that above God. I would get up at 5:50 in the morning to go to the gym before school and run track after school. Plus, I was obsessed with every calorie I consumed.

There is a song I wrote on my last album called “Undertow” and it described how I was feeling before I revealed exactly what it was. I shared that story in an interview and I was asked what advice I would give to other girls and I was shocked. I had no idea how to answer that question. But in an instant I felt God tell me that if I wasn’t satisfied with me, that it was an insult to Him. That was just so piercing to my spirit. I am not who people say I am, I am what You have made me, so if I complain to others, and then I am complaining to You. That was a big reality check to me.

CP: Do you tell this story when you’re on stage?

Starr: Absolutely. I wrote a song called “Through My Father’s Eyes” that speaks to this and going back to the end of the road when things were at their hardest. I prayed and fasted for a year and about three-quarters of the way through I realized just how much God was changing me. The best way I can describe it is in Ephesians 5 where He describes how He washes us with His works. God was not penetrating my heart. I no longer just read or hear about His healing because I’ve experienced it in my own life. It doesn’t matter if it’s body image, marriage, finances or anything else, God can heal us and meet our every need. I thought I was in such a dark place but Jesus was able to bring me through it.

CP: The music industry in highly competitive. How do you balance your life with all the daily pressures you face?

Starr: God has a way of showing us all we need to know. I just depend on His guidance to keep me humble during all of our travels and performances.

Movie Review: ‘Seasons of Gray’ Showcases the Power of Forgiveness, Reconciliation With Biblical Theme

Over the past several years, a growing number of filmmakers have written and produced quality movies that highlight a variety of Christian and biblical themes. In the latest release from EchoLight Partners, entitled “Seasons of Gray,” the writers tell a modern-day biblical story of a family’s turmoil and how ultimately forgiveness can reunite those who have been torn apart.

Produced by Paul Stehlik and underwritten by Watermark Community Church in Fort Worth, Texas, “Seasons of Gray” is set on a family ranch in Texas.


A widowed father is left to raise six boys from his two marriages and the tension between the siblings is brought to a head when one brother feels their father favors another. After four of the older brothers beat up and brand their younger half-brother, Brady, they send him away with a clear message: never return.

Believing his son died in an accident, the heartbroken father loses his hope and interest in the cattle business he has spent a lifetime building.

Much like the Old Testament story of Joseph, Brady Gray, played by Andrew Cheney, ends up in the city and believes returning home or contacting his father will only make matters worse. Instead, he is intent on rebuilding his life with the help of his new friend, who gets him an entry-level job in the building and real estate industry. His intelligence and education quickly catch the attention of his new boss and his lonely wife.

But doing the right thing by rejecting her advances only leads to more problems and eventually lands him in prison. However, his spiritual gift of interpreting dreams allowed him to minister to others.

Like Joseph, Brady gains an early release and returns to his former employer with a big job and opportunity to pursue a female co-worker he had only started to know. This unexpected turn of events soon bring him in front of his brothers when they come begging to keep their ranch.

Having no idea that the executive they meet is the sibling they cast aside, he is faced with the decision to simply walk away or seek the forgiveness and unity his father longs for. It is a decision that could change his life and the lives of others, forever.

Todd Wagner is the senior pastor of Watermark Church in Fort Worth and was part of the leadership team that pulled the project together.

In the intro to the film, Wagner points out that his church has no intention of being in the movie business, instead they want to focus on building God’s kingdom and winning people to Jesus Christ.

When I spoke to Wagner via phone, I asked why they chose to use the narrative of Joseph.

“We know one of the most powerful ways to engage people is through stories,” he said. “Jesus did it throughout the New Testament. Most everyone who has attended church or Sunday school has heard this story dozens of times and it speaks to us on so many different levels.”

“Everyone has been betrayed and felt isolated and rejected at one time and could relate to the characters,” explained Wagner. “But it wasn’t just a good story – but it was one we knew we could tell well.”

Wagner went on to point out that the entire congregation at Watermark played a major role in the project. Whether is was covering the cast and crew with prayer, donating sets and construction materials or catering the multi-week shoot, church members rose to the challenge.

“Never again will I complain about a $10 movie ticket,” he quipped.

I also spoke with Rick Santorum, the new CEO of EchoLight Studios and a recent GOP presidential hopeful, on the challenges many Christian filmmakers face. It appears Hollywood has shied away from movies with conservative and biblical themes, but Santorum and his company are developing strategies to bring films like “Seasons of Gray a mainstream audience.

“The first thing we have to do is create a quality product,” said Santorum. “Everything about the film – the production, the writing, the acting must be top-notch. The reality is conservatives and Christians go see movies produced by Hollywood because of quality filmmaking and I believe that non-Christians and others will come see our movies if the quality is there. I am confident we can attract the people if the content is great and that is our number one goal.”

Although EchoLight Studios was not involved in the production of this film, Santorum points out that upcoming releases from their studio will follow his formula for winning over more mainstream audiences and providing quality entertainment for younger moviegoers.

“As parents we need to enact parental controls over what our children watch, but the conservative strategy of keeping out the bad is only part of the solution,” he said. “We want to change that by distributing films that are excellent quality and contain a positive message.”

“Seasons of Gray” is a riveting story that many people will relate to on multiple levels. It is not just about bounding back from hard times, but about forgiveness and how God never misses the opportunity to use every moment to showcase His glory and purpose. It’s a must-see this fall.

The movie will open on Sept.18 in selected theaters and will be made available to churches and organizations that want to sell tickets or host a screening in their communities. A movie trailer and further information can be found at www.seasonsofgray.com.

The Troubling Reason Why Hollywood Anti-War Elites Are Silent

Have you noticed a Hollywood institution missing in the debate over Syrian intervention?

Every time America is challenged to engage in an international conflict, anti-war demonstrators converge to protest the use of military force – led by at least one Hollywood celebrity willing to be arrested for the cause.

Yet it seems the Jane Fonda’s and George Clooney’s of the world are now silent on President Obama’s intention to attack Syria for their use of chemical weapons. Where’s Michael Moore when you need him?

Why the silence? The reason may surprise you.

Many Hollywood elites are afraid that opposing President Obama will somehow permanently scar their careers. Seriously? Well, yes.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ed Asner, the actor who once portrayed a hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners newsroom editor says the Hollywood community is afraid to differ with Obama’s foreign policies because they fear being labeled “anti-black.”

“A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama,” Asner told the Reporter.

Asner, a staunch anti-war liberal, further showed his frustration over Obama’s actions in other areas too.

“I voted for him, but I’m not proud. He hasn’t thrown himself on the funeral pyre. I wanted him to sacrifice himself. Instead, he has proved himself to be a corporatist, and as long as he’s a corporatist, he’s not my president,” Asner adds. “A lot of people have lost hope — with the betrayals, the NSA spying …”

Is Asner racist in his views? I don’t think so and neither do I believe protestors were “anti-white” by speaking out against the Clinton or Bush policies during their tenure in the White House. After all, a Rick Santorum or a Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) do not base their opposition to President Obama on the color of his skin (after all, he is half-white), but on the fear that the administration does not have a clear and concise plan on what such an attack will deliver after the dust from an explosion settles.

Crystal Wright, who writes a column on her website, conservativeblackchick.com also takes issue with celebrities who are afraid to challenge the president for fear of being racist.

“None of what Hollywood says, or for that matter, doesn’t say surprises me,” Wright told me. “Their thinking is you can’t criticize the president for his failed policies without being labeled as anti-black or a racist. Of course, the same rule doesn’t apply when white journalist or pundits attack a black woman like myself for having conservative beliefs.”

“Why do we give credibility to actors? What do they know about politics and why do we even care? Frankly, it’s sickening to me.”

Like Wright, I’m not suggesting that I would like to hear more actors and musicians ramble on about political issues either. To the contrary, I would prefer to see and hear their talents in movies and in concert only.

But I will defend their right to voice their opinion and I pray that America can move past the point of the racial hypersensitivity it has seemingly embraced since 2009 and address issues based on their merit and potential outcome.

Given the potential candidates who are likely to be our choices in 2016, America will probably have a Caucasian as our next president. It will hardly be considered a racial setback. America is better than this and our positions over the details of policy should be the subject of debate, not the color of someone’s skin – especially the president’s.

‘Egypt is Bleeding,’ Christian Leader Pleas for Prayer In and For Middle East

As I prepare for my first trip to the Middle East next month I am closely following the events in Egypt. Political unrest is bad enough but when individuals who identify themselves with a particular religion – in this case Christians – are being persecuted, I believe the church should offer up prayer on behalf of those in need.

Below is a request from a Christian leader begging for prayer for Egypt and its leaders. I encourage you to talk a few moments now and prayer that the killing of innocent human beings immediately end.

violence in egypt

Egypt Is Bleeding!

Christian Leader Pleads for Prayers; Says, ‘Those Are the Hardest Days We’ve Ever Witnessed’

(The following analysis about the horrific violence across Egypt was written by a Christian leader in Egypt. He is unnamed due to security concerns).

The words are heavy to put together this morning. The sad day of yesterday (Aug. 14) resulted in a sleepless night not only for me, but also for millions of Christian and Muslim Egyptians who love this country and genuinely seek its good and welfare. It was a day of many tears, pain and agony for what Egypt witnessed for the violence that resulted. According to the official report of the Egyptian Ministry of Health, there were 235 deaths and 2001 injuries. The number of casualties and injuries reported by the Muslim Brotherhood and promoted by Al-Jazeera and other Muslim Brotherhood-supporting media channels are of course much higher.

This is not the time to sit to at a discussion table to decide who is right and who is wrong or what should or should not have been done in the first place. The issue now is not either to decide whether Muslim Brotherhood protesters who were forced to leave Rabaa-el Adawia and Nahda Squares (where they have camped and blocked the streets for the last 45 days) were peaceful protestors who had a legitimate political case to defend or were not. I can pretty much go further to say that it’s not even the time to weep over tens of churches, Christian buildings, schools, Bible bookshops, shops and houses of Christians that have never systematically been targeted, looted, attacked or burnt down like what happened yesterday in Minya, Assiut, Sohag and several other cities.

The murder last week of the 10-year-old girl, Jessica Boulos, as she was walking back home from her Bible study class at one of Cairo’s evangelical churches by a fanatic Muslim gunman is unbearable and continues to throw it’s shadows of pain on her broken family and the entire Christian community of Egypt.

In all of this mess, the loss of church buildings great, but not to be compared with the loss of the many souls, the pains of the wounds and the fear and anxiety that have filled the hearts of all that can yet happen in Egypt today and the days to come. Buildings can eventually be re-built, but when lost, souls can never be restored.

It was announced last night by our interim President Adly Mansour for Egypt to follow the emergency law for one month. Fourteen governorates (including Cairo, the capital) are now under curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. after the numerous attacks of the Muslim Brotherhood on public services buildings and private properties.

We see and hear angry Muslim Brotherhood members coming on TV screens threatening to burn Egypt down entirely to form what is so called “Egypt’s free army” and fight against the current army to accelerate the battle with the Jihadists in Sinai and that Egyptians will not be able to sleep until former president Morsi is back into office.

Please continue to pray for my country. Those are the hardest days we’ve ever witnessed. The peaceful Egypt is now soaked into violence, hatred and desire to revenge. My heart and the hearts of millions of Christian and Muslim Egyptians are bleeding as we see Egypt turning into a strange country we’ve never knew before.

Please pray for:

· Peace to come back to our cities

· Wisdom to Egyptian police and army forces as they handle the major upcoming security issues that are facing them

· Tremendous power of love and forgiveness to fall on the hearts of the Christians as we seek to follow to the teachings of Jesus to pray for our attackers and persecutors and forgive them

· The voice of reason to come back to the crowds of Muslim Brotherhood protestors so the brainwashed followers may stop, think and follow the sound of reason, not the orders of deceiving leadership.

“Ya Rab” ((my Lord) save Egypt from evil!

Ken Hutcherson: A Few Things a Conservative Black Minster Would Do If He Were President

Among the benefits of being a journalist and political opinion editor for The Christian Post is getting to meet and know some fascinating people. One of those is Dr. Ken Hutcherson, the senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington.

Hutch-Big-Smile photo

If you are a middle-aged football fan then Ken’s name might ring a bell.

He was a football standout in his home state of Alabama and excelled on the gridiron at Livingston University before embarking on a professional career with the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks.

But somewhere in the middle of throwing offensive linemen and running backs around, Hutch found Jesus and began a career as a minister. He writes columns for CP on occasion and I thought I would share one he penned earlier this week:

A Conservative Black Pastor Says: ‘If I Were President, I Would…’

If I were President, there would be no special treatment for anyone entering our country illegally. I would send a special delegation to Israel to study how to build a fence, secure it and then electrify it.

After the border is secure, I would put out a clarion call that all illegal aliens have six months to register and the clock starts ticking when the fence starts construction. When we catch them after that, there will be no citizenship possibility and then we would deport them.  My concern would be for those who have been here for years and sought legal ways to gain citizenship and I would work with Congress to put them on the fast track like they do inmates on death row in Texas, fast and efficient. I would be sensitive to not breaking up families because that would be inhumane of course, so if you are caught after six months, then you and your whole family, whether your children are born here or not would be deported because you had six months to make it right.  I would work with all illegal aliens if they sign up to do everything possible to get their green cards or work permits. However, if someone is attempting to gain citizenship, they must go to the back of the line.

If I were President, I would make a new commitment to Israel and announce the Muslim brotherhood as a terrorist organization, stop all shipments of money, weapons and planes to Egypt until a free government is elected that we deem is free and not a threat to our greatest ally, Israel.  Syrian leadership must go and no one on either side will get help from us until we deem it safe for Israel and America.  Iran would have one warning to disarm or we will stand with Israel to do it for them.

I would demand a special prosecutor for the IRS, NSA, Benghazi, CIA and Fast and Furious scandals.  There would be no need to investigate Eric Holder because I would fire him today for his past incompetence and malfeasance.

Read the rest of Hutch’s article here.

BMI Showcases Top Songwriters at Annual Christian Music Awards Dinner

NASHVILLE – Broadcast Music, Inc., one of the nations leading music rights organizations, recognized the top Christian songwriters and publishers at their annual awards dinner on Tuesday evening at their offices near Nashville’s famed Music Row. The star-studded, invitation-only event included top artists such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Building 429, Matt Maher and Brandon Heath.

Building 429 BMI pic

Jody Williams, BMI’s vice president of Writer/Publisher Relations, told The Christian Post during the pre-event reception how important Christian music is to the industry and its fans.

“We’re in the business of making sure songwriters and artists get paid when their songs are played,” said Williams. “But tonight we are going to honor the top 25 songs in Christian music in five different genres that make up Christian music. What’s special about this evening is we get to put the songwriters on a pedestal and make sure they are honored. Sometimes the artist is the songwriter and that’s even extra special.”

Williams said he believes Christian music has a bright future, mainly due to its diversity in terms of being inspiration to so many people. More importantly, Christian music tends not to experience the highs and low that others types of music often see.

“There [are] all types of great music coming out of Nashville but Christian music is leading the way here and we’re proud to be a part of its success,” explained Williams.

Building 429’s Jason Roy brought home song of the year honors with “Where I Belong,” (Harvey Publishing and Sony ATV Tree).

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/bmi-showcases-top-songwriters-at-annual-christian-music-awards-dinner-98527/#i81MfSolUTGKdgOW.99

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