About the Guest
Recently, FamilyLife Today had a party - and we invited all our friends to celebrate with us...and that includes YOU! Be our honored guest as we reflect on twenty years of laughter, tears and God's goodness.
Be our guest as we reflect on twenty years of laughter, tears and God’s goodness.
Bob: —missing his wife’s anniversary?
Dennis: —missing the anniversary. I had a friend say he was going to miss the anniversary because he had to work.
Dennis: So, he went to a flower shop. He, literally, bought 15 bunches of flowers—walked in the door, gave her all the flowers, then, said, “Can we do this, this weekend?” [Laughter]
Dennis: Wise man. Well, Bob and I are not quite that bad; but we are celebrating an anniversary of sorts.
Bob: Actually, back in November of 2012, we got our team together, here at FamilyLife; and we acknowledged the 20th anniversary of the very first airing of FamilyLife Today.
Dennis: We did more than that. We celebrated 20 years because it is pretty remarkable—
Dennis: —for two guys, like you and me, to be able to still enjoy each other—have a friendship and be on the air together—I mean, this has been quite a ride we’ve had together. What a privilege, over the years—to come into your car, your living room, your kitchen, your place of work—and help you in life’s most important commitments: your relationship with God, your spouse, and your kids.
Bob: Well, our staff had such a good time when we had this celebration and reminisced a little bit about 20 years of being on the air, doing FamilyLife Today. Somebody said, “We ought to put that on the air and let our listeners enjoy it, as well.”
Dennis: Well, we had just a little too much fun.
Bob: We did. It’s taken us a little bit of time to get it all put together because this happened back in November, and now here it is April; but nonetheless, we thought you ought to come to the party. So, we’ll kick things off with one of our co-workers, Emmitt Fowler, as he shares with the team what is about to happen.
[Previously recorded audio]
Emmitt: How many of you remember where you were 20 years ago, this week?—probably, not very many. Merle says he remembers. But I think there are two other people, here in the room, that definitely remember where they were this week—very significant week in our history. So, I’m going to ask you, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of FamilyLife Today, to welcome, to the table, the host and co-host of FamilyLife Today, Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine. [Cheering]
Hi, Bob. While I have Keith walking into the room here—20 years ago, FamilyLife Today made its debut on 22 radio stations around the country. I didn’t hear the very first program. I’m guessing that many of you, perhaps, did not hear the very first program, either.
Bob: Oh, come on—and we probably should never hear that again. [Laughter]
Emmitt: Well, here’s what I’m thinking.
Bob: Oh no, thinking. [Laughter]
Emmitt: In honor of the—
Dennis: It’s called puke radio.
Emmitt: As we all know, yesterday was Election Day. From what I’m hearing—I’m hearing two “No” votes,—
Bob: That’s right.
Emmitt: —right here, to hearing the very first radio program.
Bob: Yes. Yesterday was Election Day. Yes.
Emmitt: So, let’s let the people speak. How many of you want to hear the very first program? [Cheering and clapping]
Keith: See what happens. Something’s wrong with the tape machine. Oh, plug it in! Plug it in.
Bob: This is—
Dennis: A highly-trained professional, ladies and gentleman.
Bob: This is just one small peek into the technical expertise we’ve experienced.
Keith: Say, “Hi,” Matt.
Matt: Hi, everybody.
Keith: Hey, it came on!
Matt: Always. FamilyLife Today broadcast number 001. It’s scheduled to air on Monday. Program follows in four, three, two—[Music]
[Broadcast 001 excerpt]
Dennis: Isaiah 53:6: Prophet Isaiah said, “All we, like sheep, have gone astray and each of us to his own way.” And if I had one wish—that I could wave a magic baton over my own life, my kids, Barbara, and each and every listener today—would be that we could eradicate selfishness.
[End of Broadcast 001 excerpt]
Dennis: Still true.
Matt: He sounded pretty good; didn’t he? Wonder what the next guy sounds like?
Bob: Now, let’s—and I think that’s a great—
[Broadcast 001 excerpt]
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today with our host, best-selling author, and conference speaker, Dennis Rainey. I’m Bob Lepine—inviting you to stay with us for a look at FamilyLife Today.
[End of Broadcast 001 excerpt]
Keith: Yes. Yes.
Dennis: I think that’s worth a round of applause. [Clapping]
Emmitt: We weren’t sure if that would be a career-limiting move by playing that today.
Bob: It was.
Dennis: It was.
Emmitt: It was?
Bob: Yes. [Laughter]
Emmitt: Then, I’m going to make this for all it’s worth right here. I’ve got 15 minutes left, and it’s going to be good!
Bob: Well, so far, you’re at career-limiting. It could go worse; okay? I’m just telling you. Take—choose very carefully.
Emmitt: Well, as I understand, Bob, one of the challenges you had, right off the bat, was choosing a theme song—
Emmitt: —which we just heard the winner. As I understand, there were several other possibilities that were considered. So, we’re going to listen to the session when Bob was—
Bob: I don’t remember there being other possibilities. [Laughter]
Emmitt: Believe me, there were.
[Music trial excerpt]
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, November 9th—nope.
[End of music trial excerpt]
Emmitt: How about?
Keith: Five, four— [Beep]
[Music trial excerpt]
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, November 9th.
This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, November 9th.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas—a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
[End of music trial excerpt] [Clapping]
Emmitt: And that’s exactly how it happened.
Bob: That’s how it worked, exactly. I remember it like it was never! [Laughter]
Emmitt: Well, speaking of remembering—
Bob: Yes?—since we haven’t done any of that so far.
Dennis: That’s exactly right. [Laughter] Where was I in all of this?
Emmitt: You’re coming up.
Dennis: Yes, I’m sure.
Emmitt: If we can say, in all seriousness, and really mean it, what do you remember— about that very first broadcast? [Laughter] And if the answer is nothing, we’ll just move on.
Dennis: Is there a question of if I have any memory at all? [Laughter] Is that the question?
Bob: In that first recording session—I just have to tell you—Dennis said something—I don’t remember what it was, but I had one of these smart-aleck comments come into my mind. So, I waited until he was done; and then, I said it. We both laughed. I said, “We can edit that out later.” He said, “Or we could just leave it in.” I thought, “This could get interesting.” [Laughter] I mean, it was not typical for there to be humor—
Bob: —as a part of a Christian radio program. They didn’t cut-up, at all. I thought, “So, we’re going to cut-up a little bit.” You know? And really, for the first couple of years—
Bob: —almost anywhere we went, people just said, “We love the humor!” I kept saying, “How about, ‘You profoundly ministered to us’?” [Laughter] It took a while before we started to get that message. It was all about the humor, at first, just because I think it was so different than what people were hearing in the half hour before and the half hour after that.
Emmitt: Right; right.
Dennis: Then, there was—I shared a story—
Bob: You’re out. We’re done.
Emmitt: I can tell.
Bob: Get the picture?
Emmitt: Now, I know how Keith feels.
Dennis: I shared a story of how Barbara and I had had an argument, and how we disagreed with each other, and worked it through. At the end of me sharing the story, Bob stopped me and said—
Bob: —“Do you really want to tell that story on national radio? I mean, do you want to air your dirty laundry like that?”
Dennis: And I said, “I don’t have any other Gospel to preach if it’s not authentic—it’s not related to people being real.”
Dennis: And that—
Bob: He said, “A: It really did happen. So, I’m not making it up. And B:”—he said—“I’ve found that as you share the real thing, people are ministered to in a more profound way.” I thought, “Okay, this is going to be an interesting ride.”
Emmitt: Yes. And we’re going to come to—I want to come back to that whole thing—about being biblical and relevant, in just a moment—but Bob, you mentioned the name of the program. You know, it’s amazing what you can find—
Bob: Oh, yes.
Emmitt: —if you dig deep enough. I actually found a list of suggested names of the program, from that meeting in Bob’s apartment—
Bob: It’s amazing what you can find if you fabricate, too. That’s—[Laughter]
Emmitt: There was a list of names that were given—as I understand it—pretty serious consideration; and yet, were rejected. So, I thought I’d share just a few of those with you. The first that I found was FamilyLife Yesterday. [Laughter]
Bob: Yes, we thought—but “No,” to that one.
Emmitt: I think that was probably a good call.
Dennis: No. I would say, “No.”
Emmitt: The Odd Life of Dennis and Bob—Focus on the American Family Radio—that may have caused some confusion there.
Dennis: I don’t think so.
Emmitt: I’m really surprised this next one didn’t make the cut.
Bob: Yes, me, too.
Emmitt: How to Speak Ozarkian.
Dennis: We trained the country in that!
Emmitt: Yes; yes, you did.
Dennis: Still are, by the way.
Emmitt: How about The Marriage and Family Emphasis Show?
Bob: Oh, yes.
Dennis: Oh, yes!
Emmitt: That sounds a little clinical to me.
Dennis: That grabs you; doesn’t it?
Emmitt: This next one—
Bob: Get it out of your system.
Emmitt: It just says—and this is actually the one on the list that I really thought would stick. I’m really surprised that it didn’t.
Bob: Yes—me—I’m shocked.
Emmitt: Yes, Bob Lepine and that Other Guy. [Laughter]
Bob: I do have to tell you that we did—we’ve gotten letters here that said, “I really love listening to Bob and Dr. Dobson.” [Laughter] I mean, we’ve gotten those letters—people who have sent stuff in, with all of the wrong ideas. It turned out—we found out, two years into the program—that somebody in Florida owned the name FamilyLife Today for Florida and Michigan—and said, “You can’t call your program that anymore.” We went, “What?!”
Merle came to the rescue, and flew down to Florida, and met with those folks. We were able to work together and to minister; but that was one of those moments—this was in the—kids, this was before the internet was around; okay? And nobody was able to do name searches—I mean, you could; but nobody thought about a name search. We just went with it.
Emmitt: You talk a lot about the program, from its very foundation, being biblical, practical, and relevant. Why were those three things the foundational building blocks that you chose, and why do they remain key to the program today?
Dennis: Well, if it’s not biblical, I don’t have anything to say. I mean, it’s not a matter of happy homes—it’s a matter of godly homes and pointing people to Christ. If we don’t talk from Scripture, then, people are building their houses on the sand.
And I think practical has always been a part of what FamilyLife’s all about. We want to help people apply the Scriptures to their lives. Then, relevance is—we’ve always wanted to be market-sensitive—but again, let the Bible speak to where people are and let them apply it to their own marriages, families, and singles’ lives, too.
Bob: Really, the radio is just a reflection of what the FamilyLife ministry was before radio started.
Bob: The Weekends to Remember® were practical, biblical, relevant, authentic, and transparent—all of those characteristics just transferred through. It’s really a reflection of Dennis’s leadership, and Dennis’s life, and how he’s ministered, and how he’s modeled that for others—who were speakers—and then, modeled it on the radio. That’s how he’s done ministry and taught us to do ministry.
Emmitt: Speaking of modeling on the radio—[Laughter]
Bob: Oh, yes.
Emmitt: We have the—
Bob: “We just happen to have”—
Emmitt: We just happen to have a time when Dennis gave some very—I’m not sure how—I guess it was biblical advice—certainly, practical advice—and maybe even relevant, depending on your marriage situation—which people will understand when they hear it, in a moment. You gave some very wise advice to Lou Priolo when he was here.
[Excerpt from previous broadcast]
Bob: So, if your wife comes to you and says, “Does this dress make me look fat?” What do you say, Lou?
Bob: If it does.
Lou: Of course, you say, “Yes.”
Bob: You do?
Lou: I do.
Bob: If she says, “Does this dress make me look fat?” and you’re about to go out somewhere, you’d just say, “Yes, it does.”
Lou: Well, you could say—you could say, “Sweetheart, it’s not the most flattering dress that you have.”
Dennis: There you go! There you go. I was going to say, “Lou, far be it from me to correct you, as the counselor, at this point”—
Lou: I said I would say, “Yes.” [Laughter] I’m a New Yorker.
Dennis: Your wife—
Lou: I’m not from the South, where you all have this polite stuff going on—[Laughter]—polite.
Dennis: Well, you’ve been talking about biblical counsel. I would give you some biblical counsel, in return. I would say, “Speaking the truth in love;” and there is a way to speak the truth.
Lou: Okay, so, teach me. You counsel me. How would I tell my wife?
Dennis: Well, I would just say to her, “You know, Sweetheart, you have got other dresses that make you look better.”
Lou: I agree—that’s a much better way to say it.
Dennis: You know, it’s—I just wouldn’t say, “Yes, you look fat.” [Laughter] That would not be good.
Bob: Yes, it would not go well.
Dennis: That would not—in the South or in the North. I’m afraid the cold winds blow wherever that goes.
Lou: I never respond that way. [Laughter]
Dennis: I want to call your wife—
[End of previous broadcast]
Emmitt: And now you know why—yes.
Emmitt: Now, you know why Dennis and Barbara have been married 40 years.
Bob: That’s right.
Emmitt: That was good advice, good advice. You know, over the years, I can’t help but think that there have been—at first, I was going to say, “Hundreds,” but now, literally, thousands of people who have sat in that third chair there, with you, around this table, over the years. In fact, Keith printed out a list—double column, eleven-font—ten pages of unique guests that have been here.
Dennis: How many?
Emmitt: Somewhere in the several thousands; but Dennis—can I put you on the spot—and ask you if you have a favorite memory of another Christian leader—just—yes, if Bob loves his questions—just come up with one, Dennis.
Bob: It’s a great question! That’s an outstanding—that may be your finest question.
Emmitt: And I did it just for you, Bob.
Dennis: I can’t answer that because it means I have to review all 3,500 guests.
Bob: Oh, yes. Yes.
Dennis: That’s how Bob answers it.
Emmitt: A little “inside” there is—Bob really doesn’t like it when Dennis asks people that question.
Bob: If you’ve—the questions book that Dennis and Barbara wrote—one of the questions is, “If you could only save one memory in your marriage—preserve one memory of one thing, what would it be?” And I’m going, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Now, I’m supposed to think through 33 years of marriage, and I’m supposed to come up with the one thing? Then, I’ve got to weigh it out against this one. Would I say this one? Would I say that? How do you do that? You know? He’s really just asking, “Have you got a favorite memory?”—right? So, anyway, you got a favorite guest?
Dennis: I have two.
Bob: No, only one—only one!
Emmitt: Now, I don’t think I said, “One.” So, yes—I said a memory or two.
Dennis: Elisabeth Elliot—
Dennis: —was one of—really, a mutual favorite of both of ours. It was one of the funniest interviews we’ve ever done. We interviewed her both—by herself—but also with her husband, Lars. And together, they are the most contrasting couple I think we’ve ever interviewed—but a godly, godly woman. The other is a personal favorite—for some selfish reasons]—Coach John Wooden, coach of UCLA. He hobbled into the studio on a cane, walked in at the age of—
Dennis: —91—didn’t have a stitch of notes—was quoting Scripture, poetry, all this stuff. And the story that I don’t think I’ve shared, maybe, with this group—maybe I have—you can laugh again. At the end of the interview, I went to Coach Wooden and I said, “Coach, you don’t know this about me; but I had the school record for the most number of points, back in Ozark, Missouri. And I grew up in your era.”
Bob: The record was six. [Laughter]
Dennis: And I went to junior college on an athletic scholarship. I said, “You just gave me this book that you’ve written about the wisdom of Coach Wooden.” I said, “Would you mind just signing this book to me?” I said, “‘To Dennis, you could have played for me at UCLA, Coach Wooden.’”
And he got this little wry smile that broke across his face, twinkle in his eye—said, “Give it to me.” He wrote it down. He gave it back and smiled. After we got out of there, I opened the book. It said, “Dear Dennis, since I never recruited out of state, why didn’t you call me?” [Laughter]
Emmitt: Nice. That’s nice!
Bob: At 91, that’s—
Dennis: At 91, just sharp as a tack—just a great privilege.
Bob: Also, high enough integrity that he was not going to write, “You could’ve played for me at UCLA.” [Laughter]
Dennis: Yes, that is exactly right.
Emmitt: You remember, just a few months ago, Max Lucado was here. I want you to listen to a moment in the studio with Max Lucado. It was actually Max that needed fixing as he had some trouble remembering who wrote the Bible—or more accurately, he has trouble remembering who didn’t write the Bible.
Max: “And I looked up—and across the table—the father winked at me and the mother smiled at me. They reached over, and they petted me.” He thought, “I may be in a place called home.” They adopted him. And he went on to grow up in that home and to lead a wonderful life. He gave his heart to Christ and became a great Christian man. And the whole reason I’ve put that story in the Bible is because that is a picture—
Bob: That’s not in the Bible. [Laughter] That would not be a good idea.
Max: The reason Moses, and Paul, and I collaborated on that book—
Bob: That’s right. [Laughter] [Beep]
Max: The reason that I put that story in the Bible is because that’s a story—
Bob: You said it again!
Dennis: You said it again. [Laughter]
Max: Someone in heaven is laughing.
Keith: Take three. [Beep]
Dennis: Okay, now, try.
Max: I got it. The reason I put this story in my Bible is because that’s a—Grrr!
Bob: Now, you’re stuck on putting that story in the Bible. [Laughter]
Max: I’m stuck.
Dennis: Say, “book”.
Dennis: “Book.” Say it again.
Keith: Take four. [Beep]
Max: The reason I put this story in my book is because that’s a picture of grace. That is a picture of grace—that we have been adopted. In fact, it is biblical language; isn’t it? That we have been adopted into the family of God—that God has made a covenant with us to bring us and let us sit at the table and spend eternity with Him.
Bob: It’s a picture of grace that God didn’t strike you dead for putting a story in the Bible. I’m just talking about—you can cut that out, too! [Laughter]
[End of previous broadcast]
Emmitt: Bob, only you would say that to Max Lucado.
Emmitt: Would you thank this team? [Clapping]
Bob: Well, you’ve heard just the first part of a fun time we had with the staff, back in November, as we were celebrating 20 years of FamilyLife Today.
Dennis: It’s too bad that radio can’t also have TV—because if you’d have seen Max Lucado in this deal—I mean, it’s happened to me, folks—and really, has resulted in some really funny times.
Bob: And Max is a good friend to let us—
Dennis: He is.
Bob: —show how all of that works.
Dennis: At least he was! [Laughter]
Bob: We’ll find out. Well, actually, tomorrow, we’re going to hear more of the celebration that took place as we got the team together to reflect on 20 years of FamilyLife Today. And I hope you can tune in for that. As we wrap up today, we want to ask you if you would consider giving a 20th anniversary gift in support of FamilyLife Today; or better yet, would you consider becoming a Legacy Partner?
Over the last several weeks, we’ve been encouraging regular, long-term FamilyLife Today listeners to consider making a monthly contribution in support of FamilyLife Today. We want to ask you if you’d consider doing that. Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and click the button that says, “I CARE”. All the information you need about becoming a Legacy Partner is right there; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say, “I want to join you guys as a Legacy Partner.” We hope to hear from you; and we want to say, “Thanks,” in advance, for even considering it. We hope you and your family will join with the team that makes FamilyLife Today possible through your monthly contributions, in support of this radio ministry.
And we hope you’ll be back with us again tomorrow when I’m going to do some impressions of some of the guests we’ve had on FamilyLife Today. You’ll hear a powerful moment from a recent FamilyLife Today program and hear how that program impacted lives, all across the country. So, I hope you can join us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team—a great team, they are! 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. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
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