Time to Take Charge
About the Guest
Without a band leader, players wouldn’t know what song to play. With each musician playing whatever he wants, the audience would be confused and likely looking for ear plugs. Dennis Rainey offers a variety of ways for a father to lead his family spiritually.
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
Dennis Rainey offers a variety of ways for a father to lead his family spiritually.
Time to Take Charge
Bob: King David wrote: “I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell them to the coming generations the glorious deeds of the Lord and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” Here is Dennis Rainey.
Dennis: Psalm 78 tells us that we, you and I, gentlemen, are in a spiritual relay race. You and I are taking the baton. The type of handoff we make will determine how the next generation follows Jesus Christ. Our assignment is to teach our children to have faith in Jesus Christ.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, June 14th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’ll hear some coaching tips from Dennis Rainey today about how we can carry out our assignment—as husbands and as dads. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. We have already had one trip to the locker room this week. We’re going to head right back into the locker room for the coach to lay out the game plan and to charge up the team; right?
Dennis: Lots of folks tuning in—just to find out: “Can he do it? Can he give 25 points in a 35-minute message?”
Bob: We’ve already heard from you, this week—the first 10 of your 25 points for men. This was originally presented at a Promise Keepers event in Stockton, California, more than a decade ago. But you talked pretty much, in those first 10 points, about a man’s relationship with his wife. In 11 through 25, you kind of shifted and talked about the family and engaging with the kids.
Dennis: That’s right. Every man, who is listening to me right now, is going to sense that there is a hand—reaching through the radio or the device he’s listening to this broadcast on—and it’s going to put a baton in his hand—maybe, to disciple the next generation—maybe, to disciple your sons and daughters. You are responsible for the spiritual well-being and the direction your family is headed.
Bob: Alright. If you missed the first 10 of Dennis’s 25 points, they are available, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; but we’re going to pick up with point number 11 in Dennis’s message from Promise Keepers in Stockton, California, back in the year 1999.
Dennis: The 11th way to be a spiritual leader of your family is to lead a family time, one night a week. Some of my fondest memories are some of our family times, when our children were smaller and we had them under one roof. Just one night a week, guys. You’ll never regret it.
Twelve—twelve: Use circumstances to teach your children to trust God. Use everyday circumstances to teach your children to trust God. Psalm 78 tells us that we, you and I, gentlemen, are in a spiritual relay race. You and I are taking a baton. The type of handoff we make will determine how the next generation follows Jesus Christ.
I was getting ready to leave for a trip. There had been an airplane crash that summer. My daughter, Ashley, had wandered out of the house, down to my side in the car, as I was about to back out of the garage. She had her hand on my hand, there on the door. I was in the car. She said, “Daddy, don’t leave.” I said, “Princess, why?” She said, “Because I’m afraid the airplane is going to crash.”
I thought about that. I thought, “You know, I should give her a lecture about jet engines, and maintenance, and why airplanes don’t crash, and that it’s safer to fly in a plane than it is to drive.” I tried that, and it didn’t work. I could tell by the look on her face that didn’t comfort her a bit. Then, it was like the Lord gave me a wake-up call. He said: “You dummy! Don’t you get it? Point her to Me!”
So, I looked Ashley in the eye. I said: “Ashley, as you came into this world and as you’ve grown up, there are all these strings that come from you to your mom and me. They’re attached. What your mom and I have to do” and I took her hand in mine “is we’ve got to unplug those cords from us and help you plug into God.” I reached above her head, and I plugged her into God.
She sat there, looking at that invisible cord above her head. She looked back at me. A little grin broke out across her face. She did this—“But I don’t want to.” [Laughter] So, I took her hand back in mine again. I unplugged from me, and I reached above her head, and I said, “But you’ve got to.” I said, “You know, Ashley, I may not be here—10 years from today, 20 years from today—but Jesus Christ will be. He is the one you need to cast your fear on—your worry, your cares. What I want you to do, when I leave, Ashley, is go upstairs to your bedroom. I want you to just take five minutes and pray about how you’re feeling. Tell the Lord you’re afraid.”
Guys—what God give us—is He gives us these little assignments, disguised in life—where we can teach our children to obey Christ and to put our trust in Him. I love what Martyn Lloyd Jones says. He says, “Faith is the refusal to panic.” Our assignment is to teach our children not to panic but to have faith in Jesus Christ.
Thirteen: Protect your family from evil. If there was an intruder in the middle of the night, breaking into your home, would you think about rolling over and giving your wife the ball bat and saying: “Sweetheart, I’ve been doing this for the last six weeks. It’s your turn.” [Laughter] There isn’t a self-respecting man, in this stadium, who wouldn’t say: “Give me the ball bat. I’ll go down and take care of him.” Now, you might think about giving your wife the ball bat, but you wouldn’t do that!
Guys—God has given you and me, as the heads of our homes, the responsibility of being the protectors—the guardians, the shepherds of our wives and families. There is—there is an intruder. It may be in the form of peer pressure with your teenager. It may be the movies that you are watching—that you are bringing into your home. It may be the television—that is on the cable network—that you have brought in. You need to protect your family from evil.
Fourteen: Restrain your teenagers’ passion. Restrain your teenagers’ passion. In First Kings, Chapter 1, verse 6, it tells the story of Adonijah, David’s son. It says, in essence, that David had spoiled his son because he had not restrained him from evil. I believe, today, you and I have been given the assignments of protecting our sons and daughters. What we need to do with our sons—is we need to talk to them straight about pornography, about keeping their lips and hands off of the opposite sex. Then, we need to inspect to see if they’re doing that. We have been given the assignment to protect our daughters. We have daughters, in this stadium right now, who need you to be their moral and spiritual protectors. [Cheers and Applause]
Fifteen: Set spiritual goals for your children. You guys can’t see it very well; but in this plastic acetate binder is a dog-eared piece of paper, that over 15 years ago, I began to hammer out with my wife Barbara. It started out to be “Twenty-five things I Want to Teach My Children”. It soon became fifty things. Now, it’s fifty-five—“Fifty-five Things I Want to Teach My Children.”
Now, when I share this, there are always guys who come up and say, “I want a copy of that.” You know what? I don’t let people have a copy of this. There’s a reason for it. You need to decide what God is burdening your heart with to teach and pass on to your generation—your children. I will tell you three of them, though. Number one: I teach my children to fear God. Number two: I teach my children to love God with all their heart. I believe it’s my model—where they get the picture of what that looks like. And third, I challenge my children with the Great Commission—to be involved in the seventh promise of the Great Commission. Guys, you can have a spiritual goal; but if you’re not modeling it—if you’re not involved, if your house is not a lighthouse—then, you can have it as a goal; but it’s not going to count.
Sixteen: Go on mission trips with your children. Take them to a mission. It may be to another section of your community that is poor. It may be to an island that is a third world country, where you rock their values and you teach them to look at the world through the eyes of Jesus Christ.
Seventeen: Listen carefully to this one, guys. This is a big one. Catch your kids doing something right. Catch your kids doing something right. If you do—celebrate it, praise them, thank them, publicly brag on them. We’re always catching our kids doing things wrong. We’re always correcting them. Kids need to be praised, they need to be believed in, and they need to be encouraged.
Eighteen: Date your daughters. Date your daughters. Some of my fondest memories go back when I took my daughter, Ashley, out when she was three years old. I’d take her out on a date, just like I would Barbara, and spoil her with chocolate pudding and chocolate pie. At the end of the evening, I asked her what she enjoyed the most. You know what she said, guys? “Just being with you, Daddy—just being with you.” Guys, our children do not want our stuff—our gifts, our trinkets, our t-shirts that we bring them. Our children want our hearts—they want a relationship. If you want to lead them when they’re teenagers, you have to have a relationship with them, all the way up until that time.
Nineteen: Inspect what you expect. My wife and I had a date the other night. I told the children before we left, “No TV.” God must have given me the idea—I think He, occasionally, feels sorry for us, as parents. So, as we crested the drive, on the way in to our house, I turned off the lights of our car. We slid into the house—stealth. [Laughter] We went up to the window, looking into the kitchen, to see if they were watching TV. There was one of them, laid out on the island, with their hands like this, watching TV. The other one was sitting, there, on a stool, like this. I told Barbara: “You stay right here. I’m going to go around to the back door and come in the back door. You see what happens.”
I walk in the back door. I say, “Hey, we’re home!” All of a sudden, you hear activity in the other room: “Hi, Dad! Did you and Mom have a good time? Home a little early; aren’t you?” I said, “You girls aren’t watching TV are you?” I walked into the kitchen, where they had been watching TV. The TV was off, now: “Oh! No, Dad. No! We’re not watching TV. We wouldn’t do that. You asked us not to watch TV.” [Laughter] I said, “Would you girls just turn around and wave at your mother, right over there?” [Laughter] Inspect what you expect with your children.
Twenty—twenty: You’re going to have to listen faster, guys. Do a Proverbs Bible study with your teenagers. Do a Proverbs Bible study with your teenagers.
Twenty-one: Hug and kiss your sons and daughters. Hug and kiss your sons and daughters. Guys, there is nothing like locking beards with your son when he gets a little older. It’s fantastic! I’m going to write a book about that someday—Locking Beards.
Twenty-two: Ask your children for forgiveness when you fail them—not if, but when: For getting angry—I have. For being impatient?—Yes. For not listening?—Uh-huh. For lecturing them when I should seek to be understanding and believing in them?—No doubt about it. I’m guilty of all of them. Ask them for forgiveness.
Twenty-three: Pray for them. Pray for them. Pray daily with them. Go into their bedrooms and stick your face, down next to their face. Pray with them when you put them to bed. Use that opportunity as a time to teach them—instruct them.
Twenty-four: Call them to a spiritual mission—to do what God wants to do through their lives. Call them to a spiritual mission—to do what God wants to do through their lives. Not too long ago, I turned 50. My team surprised me with a birthday party. They rolled me in in a wheelchair, and had black balloons, and everybody was dressed in black. All my kids were lined up in the front row, except one. My 22-year-old son, Benjamin, was not there. You see, six months earlier, I had hugged and kissed Benjamin goodbye in a tearful farewell in the airport because Benjamin took his senior year in college to go to Estonia, and work with college students, and lead them to Christ. He was living in Communist bloc housing, and Benjamin was not there.
But they surprised me because they had Benjamin on the phone. Now, those of you who can see the screen now, are going to see a picture of my son and me—standing, arm in arm, at a cross. Occasionally, I am thrilled with technology. This is one of those moments because I’m going to tell you something, guys. I kid you not—this is the truth. If a man lives a lifetime to hear just one of his children—just one, and I’ve been blessed beyond this—but just one of his children say to him what my son said to me on my 50th, I’ll die a blessed man. I want you to listen to that phone call from my son, on my 50th birthday.
Bob: You know, we did pretty good. We got Ashley and Michael over here, from Memphis. We got Samuel down here, from Fayetteville, in a windy, rainy drive down the Pig Trail last night, arriving at our house at two in the morning. But we couldn’t arrange for a direct transcontinental flight from Tallinn to get Benjamin here. The best we could do was to get him here by telephone, and he should be on the line with us. Benjamin, are you there?
Benjamin: Yes, I’m here. [Applause]
Bob: What time is it in Tallinn?
Benjamin: It’s 5:15.
Bob: Five fifteen. You’re ready for dinner, huh?
Bob: [Laughter] Well, you know what today is; don’t you?
Benjamin: Yes, I heard the rumor.
Bob: Yes. What have you been thinking about today, as you’ve reflected on your dad’s 50th?
Benjamin: Man, I apologize for the start of the conversation. I’ve been crying for the past five minutes. Dad, I think I’m looking at the same picture you guys are. I think it’s still up. It’s you and me, at the cross.
Benjamin: [Crying] As I reflected on that—the one thing that stood out to me was that, Dad, no matter what we’ve done in the 22 years of my life—the cross has been central to everything. You’ve been a trailblazer by showing us the way—by showing us that the cross was everything to you, and it should be everything to us. You know this, but that’s why I’m here.
This won’t mean a whole lot to everybody else there; but when I left this summer, we just had a big going away, at the airport. You know, I consider myself to be a pretty big guy—pretty strong—but even as big as I am and as tough as I appear to be, that was a hard day to leave. I wrote about it in my journal. I said: “Yesterday was really an amazing day, leaving Little Rock. Wow! I never thought I would be so scared—so not wanting to leave. But when I hugged Dad, it was as if the whole world could attack me, and I’d be safe.”
Dad, that’s how it has been my whole life—nothing mattered, at that point, to me, when I was hugging you. I just want to thank you for being my dad and for showing me the way. [Applause]
[End of Audio Clip]
Dennis: Guys, I want you to hear those words. It’s not too late. It’s never too late. The 25th way to lead your family is perseverance—perseverance. C.H. Spurgeon said, “It was by perseverance that the snail reached the Ark.” [Laughter] That has to be just for us, as men.
We’re going to conclude our time with a time of personal introspection, right now. If you need to repent of something, let’s do something courageous, right here. I want you to stand where you are. Then, if you see a friend or a man you don’t know—who is standing—walk up next to him, put up your arm and ask him how you can pray for him. But all across the stadium—if you need to repent of something—alcohol—if you need to repent of selfishness—words that are harmful in your marriage—the most courageous thing you can do is do it in a safe place like this. This is not a dangerous place. We’re all sinners. There isn’t anybody perfect here, except Jesus Christ; and He welcomes you home!
Will you stand right now? Will you let somebody pray for you? Will you let someone come alongside you, right now, where you’re standing, and ask God to loose the bonds that have been claiming you for years? You guys know what it is. It’s had you by the nap of your neck. Let’s go. Choose you this day.
And now, men who are not standing—gather around these that are. Don’t let any man be standing that doesn’t have someone, with his hand on his shoulder, praying for him. Let’s pray for one another. Guys, we need prayer. No reserve. No retreat. No regrets. Pray for one another.
Bob: We’ve been listening to the second part of a message from Dennis Rainey—a challenge for men to be men. At that point in your message, guys huddled up, all around that stadium in Stockton, and prayed for one another.
Dennis: They did. The call is this: “Men, we’re running the race. We’ve got to run all the way to the finish line. Finish well, and make sure we leave it on the field—that we don’t hit the coast button, we don’t unplug, we don’t disconnect from our families, and we don’t take the easy route out. We stick to our marriage covenant, we fulfill our vows, and we make a spiritual handoff to the next generation.
Bob: I love seeing how this message, that you presented more than a decade ago, has been refined and sharpened over the years. In fact, when you read through the book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, you hear some of these same themes, echoing in that book, as well.
In fact, as you know, we are making copies of your book available, this week, to our listeners. All you have to do is call and request a copy. We’ll send it out to you free. We’re just asking that you cover the cost of shipping and handling; but the book is yours, as our gift. And we’re including a second gift. The second gift is a DVD that features Session One from the Stepping Up™ video series and the first half of Session One from the Stepping Up video event.
Now, there’s a reason why we’re including that DVD sampler—because we’d love to see you get a group of guys together and either put on an event or go through the series, together, with other men. We think this is powerful material. We think it’s helpful. We think it can have a marked impact on a man’s life. So, we’re hoping that you’ll be the catalyst—that you’ll rally together a group of four, five, six other guys—meet together in your home or plan to do this with your church men’s group.
Maybe, do it through the summer or into the fall. Go through the ten-week series—the Stepping Up video series—or plan a one-day Stepping Up event for men. We’ll send you the sampler DVD that shows you what the content looks like. It shows you the quality of the content that’s included; and we’ll send a copy of Dennis’s book, Stepping Up. All we ask you to do is cover the cost of shipping and handling, and we’re happy to send that out to you. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to request the Stepping Up book and the sampler DVD; or call, toll-free, at 1-800-FL-TODAY to make your request. Again, we’re happy to send it out to you.
Finally, a quick “Thank you,” to those of you who make FamilyLife Today possible. We could not do what we do without friends, like you, who make donations to this ministry and make it possible for us to cover the cost of producing and syndicating this daily radio program. If you make a donation today, we’d like to send you, as a thank-you gift, a different message than the one we’ve heard today—a message from Dennis Rainey, given at a Promise Keepers event—this time, at Jaguar Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Dennis was talking about how dads can fulfill their responsibilities as protectors for their children by knitting their hearts together with their kids.
You’ll hear that message when you make an online donation at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “I CARE”. We’ll send the CD out to you. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make your donation over the phone, and ask for the CD from Dennis Rainey when you do. Again, we appreciate your partnership with us. We’re glad to have you as part of the FamilyLife Today team.
And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to introduce you to a wife who persevered—a wife who stayed in her marriage when things got really tough. We’ll hear her story next week. I hope you can join us on Monday for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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