VSM's Midsummer Ministries
Dear friends of Vital Signs Ministries, August 2015
What a few weeks this has been! And in this month’s LifeSharer letter, I’ll try and zip through some of the highlights to bring you all up to date.
* Responding to the videos revealing the depth of Planned Parenthood’s barbarism has, of course, been a priority for us. I have blogged about them, posted items nearly every day on Facebook, and used them in radio programs. I was also interviewed by KPTM in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion mill on north 93rd Street about my reaction to the very first video. The story turned out to be unusually fair and informative.
* The Planned Parenthood exposé videos were also the catalyst for a special letter-writing party we hosted on July 30th. Our targets for the night were the 38 corporate donors to Planned Parenthood and, by the end of the evening, 13 of us had produced 150 hand-written letters of courteous protest. It was a dramatic success.
* Finally, the revelations of Planned Parenthood’s criminal procurement and sale of body parts from babies they killed in their abortion mills have fueled new interest in Vital Signs’ “3 for 5” prayer campaign against Planned Parenthood. In particular our Tuesday prayer has been noted -- “Pray for shame and scandal to be the portion of Planned Parenthood: ‘Lord Jesus, today I pray that the immoral and violent nature of Planned Parenthood be increasingly revealed to the public. Raise up journalists, lawyers, politicians, educators, celebrities, business leaders, preachers, and others to expose the organization’s promotion and enablement of abortion, sexual perversion, promiscuity, and misuse of government funds. Take from Planned Parenthood their financial support, their partnerships, and their false cloak of respectability.’”
* Okay, before I get too far into this letter, I’d better go back to the very beginning of July when Claire and I spent the first ten days in Colorado. I could write a whole letter (or two) about our time there but I’ll have to suffice with the briefest review. We had three nights and two days in Denver with my brother Ric and his wife Ellen; we had three nights and two days at the Canino ranch near Aspen for Claire’s family reunion; we had two quiet days by ourselves in Estes Park; and we had two days on the Front Range in which we had meals respectively, with Jim & Jeanne Lawson, the Craig & Cindy Young family, the James & Melissa Hindman family, and Mary Beth Bonacci. Our days there included a lot of conversation, mountain walks and drives, disc golf, watching Denver’s fireworks from a cool lookout in the foothills, taking in a Renaissance festival, decorating my parents’ gravesite, and drinking in copious amounts of the Colorado scenery.
* While in Colorado we also made a brief video tape for Country Bible Church, wrote some radio commentaries, spent a lot of time in prayer and a lot of time in planning Vital Signs strategy. Very precious memories were made as we presented “When Swing Was King” programs in three nursing homes in Longmont and Loveland. The Loveland paper gave us a terrific write-up – so good, in fact that it prompted five other invitations!
* And speaking of “When Swing Was King,” July saw us doing our regular schedule back here. That’s 11 facilities in Omaha, Council Bluffs, and Ashland. For August, we are creating a special program, “Keeping Alive the Spirit of ’45.” It is an edition commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with all of the songs coming from the war years. The photos and commentary also feature this theme. We consider the program, just as we do every “When Swing Was King” show, a gift to one of America’s greatest generations.
* Claire had the stitches removed from her thumb following what seems to be a successful surgery to give her some relief from arthritis.
* The first month of our new radio outreach went well and I have already recorded all of the programs needed for broadcast during August. In addition to the original airing (KLCV, 88.5 FM, 7:59 every weekday morning), the 60-second commentaries are posted on the home page of the Vital Signs website, on my Facebook page, and in special mailings.
* I was honored to preach the sermon at two Sunday morning services at Community Bible Church. The title of the message was “Top Ten Hints to a Marvelous Marriage.” That sermon, by the way, can be found on the church’s website (http://cbcomaha.org/sermon-series/) and in transcript form on the Vital Signs website.
* We keep our scheduled times to pray, give public witness and, when possible, sidewalk counsel in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion mill. We are there two Monday mornings and two Saturday mornings every month.
* I addressed a group at a men’s retreat at a camp just outside of Fremont on “Fumble Recoveries: Experiencing Forgiveness and Power to Overcome Failure.”
* We are just waiting for the artistic cover to be finished and then we will proceed with publishing The Christmas Room. We’re not completely sure right now but it looks like we will go with Amazon. That means copies will be available very soon.
* After several setbacks, the new VSM website is very close to its launch. It’s good-looking, considerably streamlined, and more user-friendly.
* Other matters that have occupied our time in July? We got a new water heater and had our chimney cleaned. We had both of our cars (and my bike) worked on. We did a lot of mowing, trimming, weeding, and watering. There’s been, as always, a lot of reading, including the July selection of the Notting Hill Napoleons, Commander Edward L. Beach’s WWII novel, Run Silent, Run Deep. I got a few friends to join me this month in reading Prepare by Paul Nyquist and Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of God's Sovereignty and Free Will by Norm Geisler. I have added a couple of other coffee get-togethers to my current “iron sharpening” sessions with colleagues. And, in July, we attended a memorial service after the death of a truly impressive friend, Mark Pauls.
* Another project? From some of the photos we took in Colorado, we had OH-K Fast Print print up a few hundred cards that we’re now using in our personal correspondence. (We do an awful lot of that!) We’re also using those cards as gifts.
* We were delighted to hear from a Christian colleague in Kenya to whom we had given permission to air on television the film Come to the Light about Colonel Saye Zerbo (the former President of Burkina Faso) and his conversion from Islam to Christianity. As you might remember, this was the film directed by Patrice Kabore and recorded by Tom Sharman that I wrote and hosted back in 2004. Here’s part of what David A. wrote: “Dear Denny, Greetings from Nairobi. I have been showing the late Col. Zerbo's videos to audiences in Kenya. On behalf of viewers, I want to THANK YOU most sincerely for the wonderful ministry through these videos. They are a blessing.”
* And finally, I’m going to mention a personal matter. Claire and I have been strictly following a particular brand of low-carb diet called Paleo for one year now. It has been a great success. Indeed, more than just another diet, this has been a real lifestyle change for us. We have both lost a lot of weight; we are substantially healthier; we are having a lot more fun shopping, cooking, and cleaning up; we have even saved a lot of money. It has also led to motivation and physical empowerment for greatly increased exercise. Claire is walking 30-40 minutes almost every day as well working a lot in the lawn. And I’m walking (or biking) nearly every day for 90 minutes to two hours. I once thought that with our responsibilities we couldn’t afford to take time for daily exercise. But I now realize that the exercise brings a lot more energy, focus, and organization to our days. And, because we blend prayer into these times, we believe it has added yet another level of effectiveness to our overall work.
Alright, there you have another rather “newsy newsletter,” but one which I hope shows that your prayers and support for Vital Signs Ministries are paying important dividends. We are truly grateful to you for helping us defend and promote the culture of life.