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Op-Ed: Regent University’s Robertson School of Government–Commissioned for a Calling

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.”

– Ronald Reagan –

“There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission–a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment, he finds greatness.”

– Winston Churchill –

Calling. Purpose. Timing. We live in a day and age when the desire for individuals to walk in their calling is both wanted and needed for the nation and her people to succeed. What is your rendezvous with destiny? Will you pursue the road less traveled and answer the call for your life?

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

– Thomas Edison –

The Robertson School of Government (RSG) commissioning ceremony inspired and challenged the students to realize that God has called them to public service. The journey will not always prove easy; however, knowing that one’s life counts for something much greater will propel each graduate to remain focused and leave a legacy.

The founder, president, faculty and staff expressed the role the RSG graduates would walk into as equipped leaders, prepared to make a difference. Dr. Charles Dunn introduced the school’s founder, Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson with a timely phrase – “Ideas have consequences.”  Dr. Robertson began Regent University in response to God’s direction. Beginning as an idea, the ripple effect would result in directly influencing students; and, then these students going out to impact others.

Dr. Carlos Campos reminded the graduates that beyond the degree, God’s image would prove the element that would leave a legacy. Each student could go into society knowing that he or she would carry this image into culture to help a broken world.

With one final service remaining, students eagerly anticipate the grand finale at the commencement ceremony tomorrow. Reflecting on today and thinking about tomorrow’s significance while sitting in the front row of a sea of chairs, the sun setting and the fountain gently flowing in the background, the stage is set. Tomorrow, hundreds of students will receive their degrees. As servant leaders, they will leave this campus to fulfill their dreams. It proves a reminder that dreams do come true and when God makes them happen they are splendid.

The university-wide ceremony will challenge students to bring truth and leadership to a world in need. As the motto rings true, this is Christian Leadership to Change the World.

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”

– Habakkuk 2:3 –

Update on May 5, 2012

For an overview of the Regent University commencement ceremony held on May 5, 2012, click here.

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Matt Beebe—A Response for American Exceptionalism

“If not us – who? If not now – when?” – Ronald Reagan

This election cycle, many are asking if government has crossed a boundary line that diminishes freedom, responsibility and private ownership? As a result, the 2012 election cycle is producing an array of candidates who are rising up to take a stand against an over reaching government that subsidizes and regulates America’s exceptionalism.

Whether on the national scene or local level, citizens are questioning policies, motives, and agendas to determine which candidate supports freedom, stability and prosperity. In Texas there are several candidates who have responded, one of which is Matt Beebe. Running for Texas House District 121, Matt understands government’s limitations and the people’s God-given ability to produce greatness.

This past weekend, at a rally and fundraising event for Matt Beebe’s campaign, David Barton spoke about American Exceptionalism and how our Founding Fathers expressed specific ideals within the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution that prove the bedrock of this society. One particular ideal that links to all others is protection of life.  Barton expressed, “The right to life and protecting it is the foundation to both economic and social conservatives.” In essence, he explained, “If they won’t protect your life, they won’t protect your money.”

A business owner and veteran, Matt will seek to maintain Texas’ culture as independent of government regulation and a prosperous society where individuals thrive. Running on the basis of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a respect for life, Matt will seek to uphold America’s core principles in a political climate that needs leadership.

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Op-Ed: Don’t Mess with My Momma–Fighting Words Ignite Motherhood Debate

Hilary Rosen’s recent comments have thrust Ann Romney into the political scene where the discussion surrounding women voters has escalated to new levels.

Rosen’s comments hit a thread that culture tells us to never attack—one’s mother.  Commonly known as fighting words, you will hear people comment in a heated discussion “Don’t mess with my momma.” Rosen initiated a social media battle and cut at the core of principle.

Mothers provide an undergirding stability for their children in which they play a key role in training the next generation of leaders. Homemakers wear many job titles—accountant, taxi driver, cook, consultant, counselor, hair stylist, fashion designer, teacher, doctor, interior decorator and more. Yet, most of all, they are endearingly known as mother.

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, our nation celebrates one of the hallmarks that make this country great—family.  To undermine a homemaker’s role as not able to relate to “working” women is unfounded, irresponsible, and plainly offensive.

Both liberals and conservatives see Rosen’s comments as out of bounds with the mainstream. Both perspectives respect the role of motherhood and families. A mother and father provide the security, convictions, and inspiration that children need to grow into responsible and productive adults. Restoring these principles, rather than working to belittle and diminish their significance, is more important.

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“October Baby” – Film Review

Unwanted? No, your life is significant and you are precious.

The power of forgiveness. The penetration of love. The reality of knowing you are significant. “October Baby” weaves together a masterpiece theme–God created you, you are valuable, and you have purpose.

The movie is portrayed through nineteen year old Hannah, who searches for identity out of a broken situation. A survivor of a failed abortion, she realizes that her parents adopted her after birth. This reality sets the stage for a journey to find her real mother. Throughout Hannah’s trip, she experiences rejection, anger, and pain. Yet, her quest unravels the ability to forgive, the moment for healing, and the meaning behind purpose.

The movie will leave you laughing and crying while reflecting on how every unborn life is precious and the healing that can come to those who have witnessed or participated in an abortion. I encourage you to go see this movie.

October Baby: “You saw me before I was born.” – Psalm 139:16

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Press Conference: Texans for a Conservative Budget Prepare for 2014-15 State Budget

Texans for a Conservative Budget announced today their intent to start working early on ensuring a responsible budget that reflects the voters’ desire for the state to remain balanced in the upcoming 83rd Legislative Session. The Texas Public Policy Foundation, Americans for Prosperity-Texas, American Majority-Texas, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility have coalesced to serve as reminders to the legislature, providing the reasons for a limited government and balanced budget.

For more details, see the press release from the Texas Public Policy Foundation below:

Texans for a Conservative Budget: Legislators must defend the Texas record with a responsible 2014-15 state budget

Coalition presents budget and policy reforms to preserve the Texas jobs engine, defend the state’s economic success, save $1.1 billion in current biennium and $8.3 billion in 2014-15

AUSTIN – Legislators should begin now to craft a 2014-2015 Texas state budget that preserves the foundations of fiscal responsibility and limited government that underlie the tremendous Texas economic and fiscal success of the past decade, according to Texans for a Conservative Budget, a coalition of policy and grassroots organizations.

The coalition released its recommendations at a Tuesday afternoon press conference at the Texas State Capitol. Organizations in the Texans for a Conservative Budget coalition include the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Americans for Prosperity-Texas, American Majority-Texas, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.

The coalition’s recommendations, “Real Texas Budget Solutions: 2013 and Beyond,” rethink how Texas funds and operates state and local administration to reduce dependence on the government, foster economic growth, and deliver improved, streamlined services to Texans. The document also lists agencies and programs that should be reduced, consolidated, or eliminated.

“The Texans for a Conservative Budget coalition’s recommendations are several and resolve to one imperative: we must keep the engine of Texas jobs and prosperity running,” said Brooke Rollins, president and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “In dark national economic times, our state still illuminates the American Dream. Texan families, workers, and business have done their part. It will be up to the men and women of the 83rd Texas Legislature to keep faith with them. These real Texas budget solutions show the way.”

“As Texas faces another large budget shortfall, it is critical to prioritize essential government functions,” said Julie Drenner of the Heartland Institute. “Therefore, reducing spending through cutting non-essential agencies and subsidies is a must. Our battle cry this session is, ‘reform it or eliminate it.’”

“Put simply, raising taxes and seeking new revenue sources are off the table for Texas taxpayers and voters, so it needs to be also for lawmakers. Looking ahead to the 83rd legislative session, legislators must demand right now that agencies re-double efforts to find inefficiencies and cut costs,” said Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. “As they always do, special interests funded by tax-dollars will howl for more ever spending with less accountability. Legislators, however, would do well to remember that the right fiscal policy in 2013 is the right politics in 2012: reducing the burden of government ensures the long-term strength of the economy for all Texans.”

“Government has grown too big at all levels. While the federal debt is nearing $16 trillion, local government debt in Texas alone is $322 billion. We are saddling future generations with a legacy of spending and debt,” said Peggy Venable, director of Americans for Prosperity-Texas. “That is not the legacy we want to leave. Government spending and debt limit economic freedom. Putting limits on the size and scope of government allows future generations the opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

“In light of the fact that the largest federal tax increase in U.S. history will hit individuals, families, and employers throughout Texas in less than 10 short months, it is imperative that lawmakers in Austin not pile on with more job-killing tax increases at the state level,” said Patrick Gleason, director of state affairs for Americans for Tax Reform.

“Common sense budget reforms and a consistent focus on fiscal responsibility are critical for Texas’ growth as an economic power and as a magnet for millions of our fellow Americans who look to us as a haven from burdensome regulation and over-taxation,” said Raz Shafer, director of American Majority-Texas. “The coming legislative session will not be an easy one and it’s important that Texans stand up and are heard by their legislators as they demand a fiscally sound, fairly balanced budget.”

“It is time for decisive action on an unrelenting, focused plan to reform and restructure state government so that it fits into a constitution-sized box,” said JoAnn Fleming, chair of the advisory committee to the Texas Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus. “State government must get back to its core constitutional functions and do those few things efficiently and effectively, period.”

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Austin City Council Bans Disposable Paper/Plastic Bags – March 2013

At 2 a.m. today, the Austin City Council passed one of the broadest bag laws in the nation, agreeing to ban disposable paper and plastic bags at all retail checkout counters starting in March 2013.

When I first read this, I thought, “Seriously? At 2 a.m. on March 2nd the City Council was spending their time voting on whether Austinites can use plastic bags in stores? Did they have nothing better to do?”

You can read the entire article here: Austin Passes Bag Ban. Here’s the run down on what this new requirement entails:

1. Austin will spend $2 million educating us on why we need to use reusable bags.

2. Possibility of a fee if you use a disposable bag after the law goes into effect (this another way to tax and/or fine citizens).

3. Retailers can offer reusable bags; however, it is unclear if they are required to provide bags (if this is indeed a requirement for the retailers then products will rise in price as the retailers will pass on the cost to the consumer).

4. Exemptions allowed in certain situations.

5.The motivating philosophy for such a ban is “environmental harm.”

6. In an economy where we need job growth, the ban effects companies in the plastic industry.

The last statement in the article proves very insightful: Late Thursday and stretching into this morning, about 15 people stuck around to give the council their thoughts on the proposed ban; most were in favor. When most people, especially those who would oppose this ban, were at home and in bed because they have to get up the next morning to get to work and/or school, the proponents were actively at work to see that consumers could no longer use paper and plastic bags.

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Is it None of Our Business?

The debate surrounding the U.S.’s interaction between Israel and Iran is gaining tide. It is obvious that the Middle East turmoil is growing and countries as well as individuals will have to determine on what side of the aisle they will stand.

Recently, someone brought to my attention that one of the two main topics they see as important in the 2012 elections will center around Israel. The economy, gas prices, healthcare, and other topics are all important issues. Yet, what takes place with Israel will have an influence on all that we do at home.

If we do not get involved in protecting Israel, the beacon of hope and freedom in the Middle East, then those who want to annihilate the Jewish people (such as Iran) will seek to destroy Israel as well as harm all other nations who promote democracy and the rule of law. History shows us that those who stay out of defeating evil plots will suffer at evil’s hand. France is such an example during WWII. If it was not for the U.S. intervening, Germany would have annihilated France. Once again, the Nazis, haters of the Jewish people, would not stop at exterminating Jews, they would continue until they had supreme rulership. As Edmund Burke warned us: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

So, Israel is our business, and we should make defending our ally top priority.