The Gift of Life Documentary Feat. Pro Life Speaker

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This past summer, a documentary film crew contacted me regarding being featured in a project that Mike Huckabee was hosting. We agreed to a day of filming, and I am proud to announce the trailer for that film has been released. As a Pro Life Speaker, it is very important that this message gets spread around as much as possible as the film showcases the positive view of every life being worth living. Please take a look at the trailer below, and please visit “The Gift of Life” to learn more about how you can promote this awesome testimony for the pro life cause.

Pro Life Speaker, Chet McDoniel, in “The Gift of Life”

Purchase the film on our site.

Can You Play Flag Football With No Arms?

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I had an opportunity a couple of years ago to meet Vanessa in a mall in San Antonio.  She was excited to meet someone who looked like her son, David.  He, too, does not have arms, but has the spirit to succeed no matter what.  I had hoped that I would one day hear of the amazing things that David had accomplished, but was surprised to learn at just a few years old, he has already done something I have never done.  Check out this video below, and be inspired by David who has yet to give up on his dreams:

The Land of Me

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As we came out of the restaurant last night, we happened upon an all too familiar scene.  Someone had pulled their car right beside our van, and thus had blocked the stripes on the ground that are meant to signal that this is not a place to park your car.  Fortunately, the driver was in the car and had her window rolled down.  My wife and I approached the driver and explained that she was in the stripes and we could not get my wheelchair into my van.  We were calm, and smiled at her…trying to make this as peaceful a confrontation as possible.

“I’m checking to see if my order was correct.” she replied.  She had just been through the drive through.  She turned away from us to continue checking her food order.

“Ma’am, you are parked illegally, and we need you to move.”  I said a little more forcefully.

“I was only here for a second.  I just pulled in.”  She retorted.

“Ma’am, it was illegal the moment you drove your car into the stripes and parked.  It does not matter how long you were here.”  We responded.  After several seconds of what I can only describe as an angry stare, she slammed her car into reverse saying that she hoped we had a wonderful evening.  Her tone suggested otherwise, but I still smiled and replied that I hoped she had the same.

I wish I could tell you that this situation isn’t a regular occurrence, but I’d be lying.  It is so common, that I no longer get angry, but am just disappointed in careless thinking.  Most of the time, we are able to work around the carelessly parked car, but sometimes, we have to seek help as there is only so much room for my ramp.

I’m not suggesting that people who do these kinds of things are evil or stupid.  Rather, these actions are a symptom of a much larger problem.  We are so wrapped up in our own lives that our first thoughts do not go towards what others may need but rather what we need…or want for that matter.

Sure, doors are held open, and no one calls me names to my face anymore, but if you want to see where our thoughts and actions lie, just watch what happens when no one is looking.  When societal members think they can get away with something wrong, a significant number of them will attempt it.  What really blew me away with this interaction was the tone the driver took with us.  If she had apologized and moved as soon as she realized what she had done, then she wouldn’t have driven away feeling angry.  But, how dare we tell her she was in the wrong and how dare we ask her to move.  After all, her dinner was very important to her.  So important, in fact, that she had failed to see a dozen open parking spaces in front of the restaurant where she could have legally parked and checked her order.

I struggle with writing this as I think of my own behavior.  I, too, elevate myself to a position of importance, and have to be reminded often to think of others, first.  Fortunately, we have an example in Jesus, who was and is the ultimate servant.  In Mark 10, we find Jesus’ disciples having a little argument of sorts over who shall sit in a more prominent position at God’s table in glory.  After Jesus tells James and John that they don’t really know what they are asking for, the other disciples get upset.  Jesus takes the teachable moment to set the record straight:

42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

This must have blown their minds.  In a society that depended totally on social class and roles, Jesus tells his disciples to throw that all out the window.  Become a slave of all…they must have thought he was crazy.  I know some movies depicting Biblical times often show the disciples as nodding their heads in agreement while stroking their beards when Jesus drops a truth bomb.  I don’t see that happening this time.  I’m thinking many of them were giving a great “deer in the headlights” impression with their jaws wide open.  Become a slave?  But you’re the son of God…

As Jesus’ statements were backwards from the way the world worked back then, we are just as backwards from Jeus today in America, The Land of Me.  Our comfort, our wealth, and the lack of any real persecution allows us to think of ourselves as kings simply serving a King that is a bit higher than we.  Even when evil strikes our nation as it did ten years ago today, we soon forget our position in God’s kingdom.  We return to our “me” lives, and think to ourselves, “It’s good to be sons/daughters of the King.”  And it is…but, this King, this Lord, expects us to act as his hands and feet in the world.  His expectation of us is not for us to lord over everyone around us, but rather, to show the world His love and His compassion through how we serve others.

That driver that was so inconsiderate…I wonder what she was going through that day…

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Those Who Love God?

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My humble attempt at explaining why bad things happen even to those who serve God. We will face hard times, but in facing those times, and choosing to follow God, we honor and praise His name through our choice.

Bullying Epidemic

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I spoke this morning at Carroll Middle School in the Southlake-Carroll School District here in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. One of my main topics this morning was a message to bullies, to those being bullied, and to those who could do something about it. The video link at the end of this post is from a bullying report on HLN. The child being bullied appealed to school officials, and NOTHING was done. Inaction by authority figures closest to the student resulted in a more volitale situation. It makes me sick that so-called teachers and administrators would tell this child it was all in his head.

You know why I believe the child in the video? Because the same thing happened to me in 8th grade.

There was a fellow student in my class who made my life miserable. I hated going to school, and hated even seeing his face. One day, I came to the teacher of the class that the bully and I were in. I told her all of my hurt feelings that the bully had caused. I had never told anyone about my pain before. Her response, “it’s all in your head.” That night, I can remember lying in bed believing that if my appeal to an adult who was closest to the situation didn’t help, that I’d be better off not waking up in the morning. I had never felt more alone and worthless than that day.

There is a good epilogue to this story. The bully was invited to a church retreat when I was a Junior in high school. He approached me one morning to apologize, as he said in his own words, “Jesus is Lord of my life, now, and he would never have done the awful things to you that I did.” While the epilogue is good, the events that transpired in that 8th grade class could have been avoided. That teacher completely failed me and failed in her profession that day by dismissing my pain. She could have easily gotten an administrator involved, but she didn’t. (To be honest, she was a lousy educator, too, but that is a different story.)

I’m glad that the Dragons (students) of Carroll Middle School have the support that I didn’t have. I believe that the administration and teachers’ committment to a positive school enviornment would never allow what I went through to occur. Everyone near a child must understand…feelings are facts. If a child says he or she is the target of a bully, you MUST do something. Kids aren’t killing themselves simply from being bullied. They are killing themselves because they feel like no one cares, and nothing will ever be done to make the pain stop.

Check out this video from HLN of a father (and family) who tried to help, and what occurs when a school administration doesn’t do a thing about bullying. I applaud the efforts of the entire Southlake-Carroll School District, as I believe this would never occur the same way it did in this video below:

Video: Boy arrested for threatening bullies?

Our Normal Obsession

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I have an amazing wife.

I love her with all my heart, and I know she loves me just as much.  She posted a blog entry today that I believe each and every person needs to read.  It is a declaration of our “normal” and I strongly encourage you to read: “Our Normal Obsession

38 Degrees, in September?

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I had an awesome time in North Dakota this week at Minot State University.  I spoke alongside my dad for the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities’ 20th Anniversary Celebration.  Check out the video at this link to see an interview done by a local TV station while were there:

http://www.kxnet.com/video.asp?ArticleId=631155&VideoId=39092

Christian Teens on Fire for God

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This past Wednesday night, I traveled to Gun Barrel City, TX (awesome name for a city, BTW), to speak at the Spiritual Boot Camp at the Cedar Creek Church of God. While the evening took a turn we didn’t expect so that I didn’t get to present my story (I am returning on August 8 to present), I witnessed one of the most amazing displays of faith I’ve ever seen. At the front of the sanctuary a trash can had been placed on the stage, and that trash can had a label on it marked “Sin and Distractions.” Now, having been to many youth events, I’ve seen this kind of thing before. Usually, teens are asked to write some sin on a slip of paper and walk up to the front to throw it away. It’s a great symbolic gesture, but a gesture was not enough for the teens at Cedar Creek as I soon found out.

Before the event began, I walked up to the trash can and was blown away to see joints, bags of illegal drugs, porn magazines and videos, condoms, and other sinful pleasures. These weren’t words written on pieces of paper, but the actual devices of sin. Throughout the evening during the praise, teen after teen came forward to add to the trash can. With tears streaming down their faces, they would throw in their drugs, magazines, etc, and would immediately be greeted by the other teenagers in the room with hugs, applause, and excitement. The responses were amazing, and they reminded me of a part of the story of the prodigal son. I got a chance to share with the teens for a few minutes at the end and we focused on this statement in the story from Luke 15: 20:

So he got up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

In this story, a son has squandered all his inheritance in a distant country, and he decides to return to his father to work as a servant as his actions surely would mean he could no longer be called his father’s son.  However, Jesus (who is telling the story) throws a surprise twist and has God (represented by the father in the story) run out and welcome his son home.  I absolutely love this particular statement: But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him. Where does the father (God) have to be in order to see his son returning home?

He had to be on the porch…waiting each and every moment of the day for his son to return.

God awaits for his children to come to Him…and there isn’t a hint of condemnation… His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Those teens who were repenting and bringing their sins forward to throw away were not being met by a disdain from Heaven, but rather by a God and a Heaven waiting with open arms and throwing the biggest party ever!  I praise God for His amazing grace!

Inspiring Happiness at Work

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On May 6th and 11th, I got the opportunity to speak at the Foulston – Siefkin Employment Law Seminar.  My topic was “You’re Not Broken: How to Inspire a Happier, More Productive Workplace.”  Among some other ideas, one thought I presented was how to inspire belief in your employees and co-workers.  By simply believing in others, the workplace can be changed and positively influenced.  I told a story about getting hired at Six Flags Over Texas when I was in high school.  Instead of me describing it to you, take a look below to watch the clip for yourself:

Article on Pro-Life Speaking in Harrisburg, PA

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I recently got the chance to inspire attendees at the Morning Star Pregnancy Services banquet in Harrisburg, PA.  My family got to join me, and we had a blast in the nearby town of Hershey, PA, eating tons of chocolate.  Instead of me telling about the banquet, check out this article written by one of the attendees:

“I’ve enjoyed the life I’ve been given,” Chet says.

Granted, he does face challenges. He cannot walk long distances, so he uses a wheelchair. He must use his feet to drive and to type—but for him, that’s normal.

He fully recognizes that, in this age of extensive prenatal testing and ultrasounds, someone like him could easily be aborted. But, as he told the hundreds of people gathered at the Pennsylvania pregnancy center banquet, “We cannot know what life will bring.”

Read the complete article here: http://lifenews.com/state5019.html