Dear Friend of the FAMiLY,
An email sent by a first-time Family Leadership Summit attendee from Cedar Falls read:
“We sure enjoyed yesterday’s conference, talked with several folks about it at church this morning and laid plans to attend as a group next year.”
Another person who came back this year after a great experience last year exclaimed:
“When I left here last year I KNEW there was no way this year ’s conference would be as good as that was. But this year’s was amazing! I can’t wait to see what next year brings!”
These are just a couple of the scores of positive sentiments we’ve heard about the 2014 Family Leadership Summit. Everything we’ve heard – including the taunts and jeers from atheist and pro-gay marriage demonstrators outside the auditorium, as well as liberal Des Moines Register writer Rekah Basu’s video commentary a few days after the Summit – indicate that God accomplished more with this year’s Summit than we could have ever asked or imagined.
Friend, I’ve got to tell you that when I reflect on how the Lord has provided for and continues to use The FAMiLY LEADER, I am amazed. But you know Scripture says: “To whom much is given, much will be required.”
This is no time for us to let up, or sit back and rest on our laurels, or even think that we have laurels to rest on in the first place! No, no, no…we must be more faithful and more diligent than ever before. And to do that, I’m asking you to continue your generous, even sacrificial support – if not to increase it.
There’s more to do and we need you! Big time!
All told, here’s how the Summit went down this year according to the numbers:
And, protestors notwithstanding, we have every reason to expect that next year’s Summit will challenge believers even more. I’ll say a couple things about that at the end of the letter, but for now, just put Saturday, August 15, 2015, on your calendar right now!
If you asked me to tell you my favorite part of the Summit, like everyone else who was there, I would be at a loss. Every single speaker brought ideas worth hearing. And there is no way for me to fully convey to you everything we heard and felt, or how we were inspired to act.
The best thing I could recommend is that you go to TheFamilyLeader.com, and for $5 buy a link to view the professional quality video coverage of the Summit online. It’s well worth your time and money. In fact, invite some friends over or watch it with your small group. It’s worth their time, too! www.TheFamilyLeadershipSummit.com
To give you an appetizer for the real thing, hoping that you’ll go watch it yourself…or if you were there, to give you a sample of some of the great stuff we heard, I want to share some of my favorite moments from various Summit speakers’ talks.
Let me start with Joel Rosenberg, Jewish Christian author and speaker. He was a featured speaker at the Summit two years ago, where he delivered a timely and inspiring message about the condition of our culture and what we can learn from Scripture about how we should proceed.
This year his message featured three poignant ideas (paraphrased):
1. We aren’t just a culture in decline, we’re a society facing implosion, unless we repent (turn around) now. For example, we have killed nearly 10 times more babies (~ 55 million) than the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust (~ 6 million.) If we rightly affirm the judgment that was brought on Hitler and the Germans, then what sort of judgment should we expect to come on us now? We must repent!
2. Whether we’re at a Jonah moment (Ninevah repented at Jonah’s preaching and was spared,) or at a Nahum moment (Ninevah did not repent at Nahum’s preaching and was destroyed,) is God’s business. Our business is to keep speaking and standing for Truth in the public square; being the Jonah and Nahum-like prophets of our day.
3. While Israel and the Jewish people are not and have never have been perfect, any nation who completely abandons Israel, according to Scripture, will be dealt with harshly by God. Therefore, we should continue to support Israel, which doesn’t mean we have to be anti-Palestinian – it’s not either/or, but both/and.
Later on we heard from Ken Cuccinelli, who served as Secretary of State in Virginia, and was narrowly defeated in his bid for Governor in 2013. Now he leads the Senate Conservatives Fund – a group of full-spectrum conservatives who, unlike the National Republican Senate Committee, are willing to fully embrace the conservative position on social issues.
“For those of you who are Republican, why are you Republican? That’s the question to ask. We drill down on why we’re Republican. It’s about the principles, not the party. Remember that. It is critically important to organize around principles. It’s also important to participate in the party. But don’t ever think that one equals the other. The American people are the reservoir of principles in this country.” ~ Ken Cuccinelli, President of Senate Conservatives Fund
Next, we heard from Pastor Raphael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s father, who brought the house down during his impassioned presentation last year. Needless to say we were thrilled to have the former Castro-supporting Cuban Communist turned Constitutional Conservative Christian American back with us this year. Via his Latin-American accent, he made a beautiful and direct appeal for pastors and churches to stop being silent amidst the cultural decay around us.
“When you take [Jefferson’s] three statements (from his personal letter to the Danbury Baptists where he mentions “a wall of separation between church and state”) in context, it is absolutely obvious that Jefferson was talking about a one-way wall…a one-way wall to prevent government from establishing a state religion; to prevent government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. In no way, shape, or form can we infer Jefferson was saying that the church should not have an influence on society. To the contrary, the church should be influencing every area of society, whether it is the media, or arts and entertainment, or sports, or education, or government.” ~ Pastor Raphael Cruz, former Communist
After that we heard from Jason and David Benham. Our audience was probably less familiar with them than any of the other speakers before the Summit, but afterward, based on what I’m hearing, they may have been the favorite presentation of the day. The Benham Brothers’ reality show, “Flip it Forward,” (about renovating houses for people) was cancelled by HGTV after their conservative and religious beliefs were made public, and after GLAAD (a liberal pro-homosexual group) bullied television executives into dropping them.
“You can take my brand and you can punt it from here to the West Coast, because this isn’t about a brand, this is about elevating the name of Jesus Christ in a moment when He needs to be elevated.” ~ David Benham
“It’s very important that we as Christians, as the salt and the light, understand that the embodiment of love is speaking the truth, and doing it in love. To speak the truth without love is not truth. To be loving without truth is not love. To be one or the other is not Jesus. But to be both is Jesus Christ.” ~ Jason Benham
Add all this to the likes of Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Bobby Jindal, Congressman Steve King, Tony Perkins, Governor Rick Perry, Senator Rick Santorum, and others, and we were blessed with quite a day. Ultimately, we take no credit but give the glory to God and pray that He will continue to use us as His tools to shape hearts and minds.
As you already know, one of the main reasons an event like this gets so much attention here in Iowa is because we’re the First in the Nation Caucus State. And even though we’re over two years away from the next presidential election, the eyes of the world are once again focusing on Iowa.
Because of this, you and I have a very, very important role to play.
Pound for pound or per capita or however you want to say it, the weight you and I bring to bear on presidential politics is greater than people living in any other state. We’re first. We set the tone. And for the past couple of Caucus cycles, we’ve done the best we could.
…But what we’re doing must extend beyond Iowa to have real, lasting impact.
That’s why as we look toward next year’s Family Leadership Summit — the last one before the 2016 Iowa Caucuses — we’re being intentional about including other early presidential primary states, like New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. We’re not ready to disclose all of our plans, in fact many of them are still up in the air. But, Lord willing, it will have even more Kingdom impact than this year’s Summit.
The reason I’m sharing this with you is because, along with all the other exciting things The FAMiLY LEADER is doing (lobbying at the Capitol and helping elect strong candidates around Iowa, strengthening marriages through Marriage Matters, fulfilling our role as the media’s Christian conservative go-to organization on all sorts of stories and issues, etc), if we’re going to maximize our influence through the 2016 presidential cycle, including the 2015 Summit, then we need you.
Let me say that again: WE NEED YOU NOW!
Please pray. Pray for wisdom and guidance and discernment as our team and I make decisions about the direction of our organization day to day. Please get your friends, neighbors, and fellow church members involved in what The FAMiLY LEADER is doing — like the person who wrote the email I referenced at the top of this letter.
And please, please give. Give generously. Give sacrificially.
God has placed us in a position of great and increasing influence at a critical time in our culture’s and our nation’s history. And He is blessing the socks off nearly everything we put our hands and our hearts toward. Please help us do our part to steward His blessing well.
P.S. Watch for my report about the life-changing trip I took to Israel this past August in the next newsletter. I can’t wait to share all of the details with you!
P.S.S. Please consider partnering at the $25, $40, $100, $250 level today. Thank you!