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"Peace, Love and Bobby Sherman"

Dear LifeSharers,                                                     January 2014 

            Dan Goor, one of the creators of the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, proudly told the Golden Globes audience last Sunday night that he was happy he decided not to become a doctor because, after all, winning an award was “way better than saving a human life.” 

            It was a pretty ugly statement that, I’m sure, had many in the international television audience cringing. But the glamorous, glitzy audience there in the theater obviously thought Goor’s line was funny and perfectly fitting. They responded to the sentiment with  laughter and lively applause. Welcome to Hollywood values, 2014. 

            However, I want to present for your consideration another celebrity, one who presents a sharp contrast to the self-centered Mr. Goor. 

            The other night Claire and I were watching a rerun of Emergency!, Jack Webb’s TV hit from the 1970s that told realistic stories of firemen, EMTs, and emergency room doctors and nurses. This particular episode had as a guest star Bobby Sherman, the TV and recording star who enjoyed worldwide fame and fortune as a teen heart throb in the late 60s and early 70s. Now, for those of you who are baby boomers, you don’t need much of a reminder as to who Bobby Sherman was. But, for you younger guys and gals, let me give you a quick review. 

            Bobby Sherman was a regular performer on the very popular and influential music program, Shindig. He then became a romantic lead on Here Come the Brides and, for a brief time, even had his own series, Getting Together. In addition, he was a guest star in a whole bunch of other TV shows. But his recording career was even more impressive, earning him seven gold singles, one platinum, and five gold albums. Among his hit songs were "Little Woman", "Julie (Do Ya’ Love Me)" and "Easy Come, Easy Go." TV Guide included Bobby Sherman in their list of the 25 most popular teen idols of all time. And the phrase "Peace, Love and Bobby Sherman" (with the obligatory V-sign, of course) became a standard exit line for hep cats back in the day. I know. I used it regularly. 

            Needless to say then, when Bobby Sherman showed up on Emergency! the other night, I knew quite a bit about him. (In fact, I knew more than the average baby boomer because my little sister Sherry had been crazy about him.) But I had no idea what had happened to him since. And our curiosity, as it frequently does, drove us to an internet search. What we found delighted us…and we think it will delight you too. 

            It turns out that the episode of Emergency! which we had watched (filmed in January of 1974) was a genuine life-changer for Sherman. Indeed, from that very time he began to move away from the spotlight and towards a career of a very different nature.  He took training and became a licensed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and was soon working (as a volunteer) with the LAPD and paramedics in presenting CPR and first aid classes. He became a technical reserve officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. It’s a position Captain Sherman still holds today. 

            In 1999, Sherman became a reserve Deputy Sheriff with San Bernardino County continuing to train personnel in CPR and other emergency care techniques. He retired from the Sheriff's Department in 2010 but continues with the LAPD. 

            Sherman is married and has two sons and six grandchildren. And, in addition to his other work, he directs the Bobby Sherman Volunteer EMT Foundation and, with his wife, the Brigitte & Bobby Sherman Children's Foundation, an organization that helps children in the Third World. Quite a life of public service, huh? 

            Unlike Dan Goor, Bobby Sherman has never received a Golden Globe. But Bobby Sherman has saved lives. He’s saved innumerable lives by training others to intervene in crisis situations. And he’s directly saved many lives himself -- treating home accident victims, saving folks who were choking or having heart attacks, keeping people from bleeding to death in car crashes, and so on. 

            Oh yes. There are also the 5 babies he’s delivered. 

            So, let me be fair; I do not begrudge Mr. Goor his Golden Globe trophy. To use the biblical phrase, he has his reward. However, Goor’s belief that saving a human life is less important than winning a Hollywood trophy is tragic, an example of how extreme is the narcissism and egocentricity of our age. But then there’s Bobby Sherman to remember. His choice to set aside the fame, fortune and adulation in order to pursue a career that embraces the dignity and sacredness of human life and which rightly ennobles the virtues of compassion and service to others – well, that makes him much, much more of a winner in my book. 

            Anyhow, that’s enough of Entertainment Tonight, Vital Signs style. Let me make this more of “a newsy kind of newsletter” by dropping in a few lines about a couple of other second careers that put a high regard on compassion, service to others, and the biblical teaching about the sanctity of human life. In other words, let me give you a brief preview of what we have planned for Vital Signs Ministries in the coming weeks. I do so in hopes that you will be encouraged to pray about these things and perhaps be involved in other ways too.

            1) The daily activity of Vital Signs Blog continues with cross-posts of articles also appearing on other sites.

            2) We have scaled back our “When Swing Was King” schedule for 2014. Trying to do 15 programs every month (and get everything else done) had just become too much.  But we haven’t scaled back all that much. We still visit 11 different facilities every month. That makes for 300-350 residents – residents who are more enthusiastic and appreciative about “When Swing Was King” than ever.

            3) Our prayer and sidewalk counseling continues outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mill.  In addition, in 2014 we will be seeking to greatly extend the reach of our “3 for 5” prayer program against this wicked business.

            4) Vital Signs will again have an information booth at the Walk for Life in Lincoln on Saturday, January 25.  Our booth this year emphasizes our campaign against Planned Parenthood.  Claire and I will also be leading the contingent from Faith Bible Church on the Walk. Want to join us? The Walk begins at the Capitol at 10:00 AM.

            5) Claire and I are joining Pat Osborne at the L’Abri Conference on February 14 and 15 in Rochester, Minnesota.  It will be the first conference we’ve attended in quite a few years and we’re really looking forward to it.  As many of you know, Francis Schaeffer was a key inspiration to our getting involved in Christian pro-life activism more than 30 years ago and we were honored to speak to groups at the L’Abri center in England on three different occasions.  We believe the conference will be a stimulant to new Book It! events this year and perhaps even an ongoing L’Abri study group here in Omaha.
            6) In between all of these other duties, there are two special projects which are on our priority list for the first half of 2014.  One is the renovation of the Vital Signs website.  In fact, it’s more than a renovation; we’re transferring the existing content to a brand new template and a new server.  Plus we’re adding quite a bit of new material too.  And the second project involves putting together all of our Christmas-oriented articles, sermons and stories (plus writing a few others) for publication and distribution.

            7) And here’s something really cool!  During the week of February 24, we will be hosting a very good friend and pro-life colleague from Belarus, Hleb Yermakou.  Hleb is a genuine treasure with whom I have been honored to partner with in innumerable ministry actions in my 11 trips to Belarus.  He is coming to Omaha as part of an American tour in behalf of Encouragement International. We would like your help in keeping him plenty busy while he’s here in Omaha.

        Hleb is a bright, knowledgeable, well-spoken, and dedicated servant of Christ who would make a terrific guest for your church, youth group, high school or college class, or just a group of friends who would like to know more about what God is doing in Eastern Europe.  Also, Hleb’s take on the Western Church is of immense interest.  Please consider this offer and give us a call as quick as possible.  I hope his schedule fills up fast.

        Okay, there are a few more items I guess I could write down but you have more than enough to pray about. And I hope you do. I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be an especially challenging but productive year for Vital Signs Ministries and your help will be of immeasurable worth. Please know that Claire and I are deeply grateful for every prayer, every encouragement, and every financial contribution. 

            May our Lord grant you all you a spiritually bountiful 2014


P.S.  Two quick notes I should add here and both are very encouraging. 1) Vital Signs Ministries finished in the black last year (the first time in quite awhile) and 2) we have added Allen Nelson to the VSM Governing Board.