Don’t Waste Your Marriage
About the Guest
Why did the Lord bring you and your spouse together? Francis and Lisa Chan, co-authors of "You and Me Forever," remind couples that God has brought them together for a reason, and encourages them not to live for this life, but for eternity.
Why did the Lord bring you and your spouse together? Francis and Lisa Chan, remind couples that God has brought them together for a reason, and encourages them not to live for this life, but for eternity.
Don’t Waste Your Marriage
Bob: Francis and Lisa Chan had not been married long when they started to think that their marriage needed to have more of an outward focus rather than an inward focus.
Francis: And we started letting people in the home and having people, actually, live with us. Ministry was in-house, and our kids saw it. The kids saw the miracles in these peoples’ lives and the life-change. Discipleship was happening 24 hours a day in our home. We were missional. We were praying and saying, “God, what do You want us to do with this house?”—everything was with an open hand, but I think that’s what’s so few couples do—is they don’t say, “Lord, what do You want?” Instead, they think, “What do we want, and how can I justify that biblically?”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, September 30th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. God can do some amazing things in the lives of couples and families, who start to realize that marriage is about more than just the two of you.
We’ll talk to Francis and Lisa Chan about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition—the last day of our 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge. And even though this is the last day for those of us who have been along, all during the month of September, if you want to start your own 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge, you can do that today. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” Look for information on the 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge. Sign up to get prayer prompts for the next 30 days. Start praying together every day, as husband and wife.
And for those of you who are wrapping up the prayer challenge with us today, our focus is on your legacy—the fact that you will be ancestors to a generation you will not see. And if you have taken part in the 30-Day Oneness Prayer Challenge, we’d love to hear from you about how God used this daily discipline of praying together in your marriage.
Drop us a note—let us know. Again, find more information about how to get in touch with us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call us at 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Now, we have had Francis and Lisa Chan joining us this week. It’s been fun to get a little dirt on this couple—you know—I mean, on their marriage.
Dennis: Well, on Francis. [Laughter] Francis—
Bob: That’s true. I don’t know that we’ve gotten any dirt on Lisa.
Dennis: I don’t think we’ve heard much on Lisa.
Lisa: Well, we don’t have any more time. [Laughter]
Dennis: Welcome back to the broadcast.
Lisa: Thank you.
Dennis: Glad you’re here. Francis and Lisa Chan have written a book, You and Me Forever. It’s all about marriage in light of eternity. In fact, you say something in your book, Francis—I want you just to comment on here. You say that it’s important to love Lisa in light of eternity.
Explain to our listeners what you mean by that statement.
Francis: Yes, it’s the same thing that the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15. He said, “If there is no resurrection from the dead, then, I am above all men most to be pitied,”—like: “I would live completely differently if there is no forever / if there is no eternity. Let’s just enjoy—just eat, drink, be merry. Let’s just have a great little family, have a great time here on earth, and just think about us.” But no—because there is a forever—now: “How do I love her in the greatest way?”
Dennis: —and because you are accountable to the God who made us.
Francis: Yes, and made her for a reason!
Francis: And He made this marriage for a reason—it was for Him. Everything was created by Him and for Him. So, we—I mean, this is what differentiates / is supposed to differentiate us from the rest of the world—
—is that we’re not living for this life. It’s not about your best life right now. It’s about: “No, I’m thinking about the future. I’m storing up treasure in heaven.” Don’t waste your time just building up and storing up treasures on earth, where someone is going to steal it, or it’s going to fall apart, and you’ve got to insure it and everything else. Store up this treasure in heaven. Really believe that you are going to be rewarded a hundred times anything you sacrifice.
So, if I am thinking about Lisa’s forever and her future, then, I’m going to live a lot differently right here.
Bob: Lisa, I had the opportunity, a number of years ago, to go to a group of friends. I said, “If you were going to share a passage from the Bible about marriage with a couple just getting started—and it couldn’t be Ephesians 5, couldn’t be 1 Peter 3, couldn’t be Colossians 3—kind of the big ones that we all go to—couldn’t go there / what passage would you share with them?”
And two guys that I asked the question to—
—independently, gave me the same verse. It was one that really surprised me. It was out of Psalm 34. They said, “I used this verse to propose to my wife.” It was the verse that says, “O, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” They said: “We wanted to start our marriage, saying, ‘This is what we’re getting married to do—to magnify the Lord together and exalt His name together.’ That’s the mission. That’s the purpose statement for our marriage.”
I wasn’t smart enough, when I got married, to have that at the center of what I was all about.
Lisa: Yes; you know, it’s interesting because I just spoke, last week, for a group with young moms. I was reminding them: “You are more than a mother. You are more than a wife. You are a child of God. You are here for Him.” And I know we are talking about marriage right now; but I was trying to get them to think outside of—even just in their everyday life: “You belong to God. You are here”—
—like it says in Ephesians 2:10, I think it is—“You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works that He prepared in advance…”—right?
Well, afterward, one of the moms comes up and just says: “You know, my husband and I—we both work fulltime. We are kind of stuck. We have these jobs, and this house, and these cars. We want to serve the Lord, but…”—but. I’m thinking, “Wow.”
We were just talking about how we need to back things up and get people like that, who think beforehand, who—young people who will say: “You know what? Our marriage is going to be about a mission. Our marriage is going to be about the fact that we are here for God. So, we are going to make different choices. We are going to set our life up in a way that gives us total freedom to do whatever God asks of us.”
And that is a message I long to get out to people who haven’t done it yet—who aren’t stuck right now.
Dennis: There are a lot of couples who are trapped.
Dennis: They are ensnared.
Lisa: Yes. And there is nothing worse than not being able to do the Lord—“I will do anything or go anywhere for You.” That should be true of each of us—scary as it is. I’m not saying it’s not. I’m fearful sometimes of what the Lord will ask me to do; but I’m more afraid of not being able to do what He asks me to do. Who are we here for?
Dennis: So, Lisa, as you and Francis started your marriage, 21 years ago; right?
Dennis: How much on mission were you, at that point? Did your marriage start with this agreement that you were going to be a part of the Great Commission / being a part of proclaiming Jesus Christ to a lost world?
Lisa: Yes. I think because it was almost unintentional in some ways. I don’t think I personally was thinking about discipleship and really putting my mindset, intentionally, on, “How many women am I going to disciple and bring to the Lord?” It was more—we jumped onto this mission that God had given us in starting the church.
I thank God for that because I think, in a way, for me, it inadvertently put me on a mission. Our marriage started out that way—and then, this growing sense of: “What we are here for, and why we are here” and the joy that came from, all of a sudden, we are pouring our lives out for these other people—loving them/discipling them. We were put in a position of leadership, and we needed to lead. So, it was so good for me—I’m so grateful for it—but the intentional mindset grew. It wasn’t so much for me there, right in the beginning.
Dennis: Francis, what about you?
Francis: Because of my upbringing, and because my parents and everyone died at such a young age, I had more of an eternal focus. I just woke up, thinking: “Okay, this could be my last day. What am I going to do? Let me do whatever the Lord wants me to do today.” It was my focus, and I was trying to bring Lisa, who had had a different upbringing—
—and again, no fault to her / no fault to her parents. That’s the typical American church teaching—is: “This is all about you. Let us cater to your needs. What kind of programs do you want in the church? It’s all about you.”
So, it’s just—it was trying to get us deeply into the Scriptures and say: “Now, what is this about? Why are we still alive? Why am I breathing right now? Someone is letting me breathe right now, and I’m breathing for Him. I want to do everything for His glory.” So, I did have some of that intensity in me from the onset, I think, from a young age because of what God let me experience.
Bob: Well, it’s one thing for two people, who have that passion, individually, to get married. The blending of that together and making it “our passion together, as a couple,” as opposed to “my passion,” and “your passion,” and we share a supper table and a bed. How have you merged mission together in marriage?
Lisa: I grew up—I wanted to be a singer—I sang in our church / I did some studio recordings. When we first—we’d been married a few months / I was approached with this production deal; right? These guys were going to record me/produce me—put me out there. I say that because my mission—if you want to call it that / or my dream was: “I’m going to be a recording artist. I’m going to sing, and get to travel, and do this.”
Here, was my husband, whom God had called to start a church. I felt the Lord very gently saying: “You need to lay that down because I can’t have you going in two separate directions. It makes no sense. Be on mission together. Don’t have two separate things that you’re doing—that’s going to pull you apart.”
Dennis: Let’s talk about, for a moment, just a person, who’s slugging out life, as a couple. They are going, “You guys are talking about mission.” How can they get started, Francis, to begin to share—and that’s what I want them to catch—
—they’d be infected with a love for Christ, but also, being locked arm / locked step together, as a couple, defined around that purpose of the Great Commission?
Bob: And can they be on mission together if they are living in the suburbs and they’ve got two kids and—you know, kind of the ordinary life—or does being on mission mean: “No, you’ve got to abandon it all. Move somewhere else and live somewhere else in some other way”?
Francis: Yes—no. I mean, because we live in the city; and we did live in the suburbs. I believe we were missional, but we—the idea is surrendering everything, like we’ve talked about—to say, “God, this is Your house.” Where do we see in Scripture that you are allowed to not show hospitality and say: “No, this is my home. No one else is allowed in it”?
I mean, but that’s the mindset I had when we first got married, though, because I remember her even discipling a gal after 5 o’clock. I was like, “Don’t ever have her in our house after five,” because I believed in that whole lie—that this home is protected, and we need our own time.
Bob: “My castle”; right?
Bob: Yes; right.
Francis: And then, you start reading Scripture and go, “Where in the world would you get that?” And we started letting people in the home and letting people actually live with us. Ministry was in-house, and our kids saw it. The kids saw the miracles in these peoples’ lives and the life-change. Discipleship was happening 24 hours a day in our home. I mean, we were missional. We were praying and saying: “God, what do You want us to do with this house? Do You want us to move into a bigger house so we can take more people in? Do You want us to sell the house, move into a smaller one, and give the money away?”—like everything is with an open hand, but I think that’s what so few couples do—is they don’t say, “Lord, what do You want?” Instead they think, “What do we want, and how can I justify that biblically?”
Bob: So, the starting place for being on mission is to say: “It’s not about me. It’s about Him. It’s—‘What do You want?’”
But a lot of couples will say, “Well, but I don’t know what He wants because I prayed and said, ‘Lord, whatever You want?’ and I haven’t heard anything yet.”
Francis: Well, I would say, “Open the Book”—not our book; you know? [Laughter] Yes, open that one too. In the Scriptures, there are so many things—this is where we are so messed up, as a church, here in America, being hearers of the Word and doing nothing—we’re waiting for this voice from the Lord.
Well, true religion is to care for the widows and orphans in their distress. Go adopt a kid. Why don’t you just assume adoption unless the Lord screams from heaven: “No, stop! Don’t do it!” Shouldn’t we assume—if this is true religion—then, everyone should adopt? I mean, I’m saying, “Why do we always defer to inaction?” We just assume, “I’ll do nothing until I hear a voice from heaven.” No, just open the Bible. Obey a verse—actually, do it. If there is a voice from heaven telling you: “No. No matter what you do, don’t help that widow,”—then, stop—but we do this opposite.
Dennis: And there are a lot of—
Bob: There is no voice from heaven, going to say, “Don’t help that widow”; right?
Dennis: Exactly. What I want our listeners to hear—there are a lot of ways to go near the orphan. You can go to the foster care system. They are in desperate need of foster care families. And frankly, the church of Jesus Christ ought to be emptying out the foster care system of children in state after state around our country. I mean, you don’t have to adopt—you can just provide a family. For some of these kids, it may be the only family in their lifetimes—they ever see what real love is all about.
Francis: Yes, that makes absolutely no sense to me that there are half a million foster kids that no one wants. How many millions of churches are there? You know, it’s like we’ve got over a million churches, and we have half a million foster kids. That makes zero sense. So, if every other church adopted one, we’d take care of it; but that’s how pathetic it is right now.
Lisa: The most paralyzing thing, I think, for us, as believers, is fear.
We’re so afraid of what might happen: “Well, what about my kids? What if I bring someone in / something happens to them?” And I just want to encourage people that I’m just as afraid as you. In fact, I told God: “I do not want a teenage foster child. I believe that what’s best for us, in our family, is to take someone that’s younger.” What does the Lord bring to us last summer but a teenage foster child?
She has been the most amazing blessing. And if I talk about it too long, I’ll end up crying on the air; but just—you know, we cringe to think of saying, “No,” to that and what would have happened—
Lisa: —in her life. [Emotion in voice] But I’m telling you, honestly, on the front side, I did not want to do that. But there is so much blessing in taking a step of faith. So, take a step of faith—maybe, even if it is not as grand as taking in a foster child. But do something that takes some faith. Go knock on your neighbor’s door.
Bring them dinner and to say: “I want to show some love to you. Do you need help? Can I help mow your lawn?” Do some step of faith—take some action.
Dennis: You just mentioned something there—and I appreciate, so much, your passion and tender heart about this because Barbara and I share that. We have gone near the needs of orphans repeatedly. When you go near the orphan, you find the heart of God; and it’s a good thing because we are orphans too. Apart from the gospel—God adopting us into His family—we’re spiritual orphans.
Here’s the question for both of you—Lisa and Francis. I like to ask people: “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in all your life?” Courage is not battlefield courage, necessarily—it’s doing your duty in the face of fear. It’s the very thing you were talking about. So, what would you say is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done, Lisa?
Lisa: The most courageous thing you can do is say, “Yes,” to something God is asking you to do that you are afraid of.
There have been so many times—I scramble to think of which one to share. I think about the time when we invited a man, who had been in prison for six years, and his family of three kids—his wife and three kids—to move in with us—to give them our master bedroom, to move upstairs with our kids, and share that bathroom with all of them. That took a little bit of courage, and it took dying to ourselves. It took saying, “You can have my bedroom and my bathroom,”—which was, in one sense, so stupid and dumb but felt hard—and letting go of fear / letting go of fear—that’s the most courageous thing to do.
If you are a scaredy-cat, like me, you have to preach the truth to yourself. You have to preach verses like 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”
I have to say the truth of God’s Word to myself, all the time, because I will limit myself. I will refuse to say, “Yes,” to God and will be consumed with anxiety and fear in all these situations. But—no, that is not from God. He gave us, not a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control. So, choose to say, “Yes,” to God and to love someone.
Dennis: Alright, Francis, what is your most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
Francis: You know it’s funny. A lot of those things that scare me a little bit—but I’m not really that afraid of dying, or this, or that. You’ll probably be surprised by this; but probably, the most courageous moments are when I’m sitting on a plane with a stranger or talking to a neighbor and I lay out the gospel, one on one, with them. That terrifies me. That may just sound dumb to some people, but that’s the hardest thing for me—to be rejected and to just throw—I can stand in front of 100,000 people in a stadium—no big deal! You put me, one on one, with someone that I know is not used to hearing about Jesus, and I’m going to lay it out for them—
—it still scares me to this day. It still takes courage.
Bob: Do you know how many people just went, “Oh, it’s so good to hear him say that”? [Laughter]
Dennis: Here’s what I want to say to you: “You’re in good company.”
Dennis: We just recently asked a guy that same question—not just any guy—but a NASA astronaut, who was on the International Space Station. I asked him—he’s been to outer space twice. So, he’s strapped a rocket—
Dennis: —on and gone into outer space.
Bob: He floated out in nothing with the space suit and the tentacles on him; you know?
Dennis: Oh, yes—so, you with me? I asked him the same question. It’s like you—he’s going, “Sharing my faith in Jesus Christ—
Dennis: —“is repeatedly the most courageous thing I ever do.”
Francis: Totally. And it’s interesting—when I was younger, we didn’t care for the poor. We didn’t think about human trafficking—this or that.
So, when we started doing that, that was a big deal; but now, that’s not really a scary thing to do—that’s very accepted. You’re a hero if you do this; but if you start sharing the gospel, you’re going to get shutdown.
Dennis: Especially today; huh?
Francis: Amen! It’s—times are changing.
Dennis: Well, I just want to applaud you two and your book because I think you properly paint marriage with its noble, transcendent, God-imbued purpose—that we’re made in His image, designed to reproduce a godly legacy, preach the gospel to the next generation, and glorify Him in all that we say and do. I just am glad you are using marriage to promote that kind of thinking because I think that’s what’s missing today.
Dennis: I just want to thank you guys for being in the battle; and Lisa, for following this guy—for saying, “Yes,” to him—
Bob: Crazy Francis; right? That’s—
Dennis: Well, Crazy Love Francis.
Francis: There you go.
Bob: Maybe, just scrap the love part—I think Crazy Francis. [Laughter]
Dennis: But thank you guys for all you do.
Francis: Yes, thanks for having us.
Lisa: Yes, thank you very much.
Bob: We have got copies of the book that Francis and Lisa have written together called You and Me Forever. We haven’t mentioned the video that the two of you did called You and Me Forever. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “GO DEEPER,” in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. There is a link for your book. So, you can order a copy of the book from us, online; and there is a link for the music video. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to see it. If you’d like to order a copy of the book by phone, call: 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
And let me also mention that—with the fact that our anniversary, as a ministry, is coming up in 2016 / our 40th anniversary—
—our team thought it would be a good idea to make available a special offer to any couple who would like to help us celebrate our 40th anniversary by helping to make sure that more anniversaries in your community happen next year. We are looking for folks who would agree to host an Art of Marriage® event in your church or in your community in 2016. And if you will agree to take five couples through this material, and go ahead and order the workbooks for the five couples, we will send, along with the workbooks, a free DVD kit that’s got everything you need to be able to host The Art of Marriage in your church or in your community in 2016.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner that says, “GO DEEPER,” and look for The Art of Marriage anniversary offer. Start making plans now for January, February, March—
—whenever is the best time for you—in 2016 to host one of these Friday night / Saturday video events in your community.
Finally, today, a quick word of thanks to those of you who make FamilyLife Today possible. This ministry is supported by listeners, like you, who are, not just listeners, but you are donors to the ministry. You send a contribution—either as a Legacy Partner, giving each month / or from time to time, pitching in to help with the cost of producing and syndicating this program.
If you can help with a donation today, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you our 2016 FamilyLife Prayer Calendar. It actually starts with October of 2015. So, get in touch with us; and we’ll get the calendar out to you as you make a donation to help support this ministry. You can do that, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “I Care,” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY—make your donation over the phone.
Or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear some very practical counsel on how to have a great relationship with your in-laws in marriage. It is possible, and Tommy Nelson is going to give us some thoughts on how to make it happen. Hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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