Dennis & Barbara's Top 25 All-Time Interviews

Dennis and Barbara Rainey

The list of 25 are interviews done with some of the finest human beings we’ve ever met. Their stories are rich with spiritual nutrition that will enrich your soul. We bet that you can’t “listen” to JUST ONE!

Start Here
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry Sittser
Jan 6 2020
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry Sittser
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 2) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 3) - Jerry SittserFamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Descending Into the Valley Guest:                         Jerry Sittser From the series:          A Grace Disguised  (Day 1 of 3)  Bob:  There are times in the midst of trials and traumas of life when we wonder to ourselves where is God?  Why did He let this happen?   For Jerry Sittser one of those events occurred in 1991 when he and his wife and their four children and Jerry’s mother were hit head on by a vehicle traveling at 85 miles per hour.  The collision was fatal for Jerry’s wife and for his mom and for one of his four children.  As Jerry reflects back on that event today he sees it as something that was ultimately faith affirming.   Jerry Sittser:  Through a long and often difficult journey I really did discover the Christian faith is true.  Grace really is available to get us through these hard stretches of life.  The ultimate message of Christianity is not self help it is God’s help.   Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Monday July 6th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  We’ll hear today how a tragic car accident can be a grace disguised.   Welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.  You and I were having a conversation not long ago with Dr. Al Moeller, the President of Southern Seminary and we asked him about questions he gets thrown by the secular media.  We said the tough questions are the ones they ask you.  What are the ones that put you on the spot?  Without even thinking he said we always come back to the issue of the problem of evil and suffering.  How can there be a good God when there is suffering in the world?   Dennis:  We don’t always know what God is up to.  He is God and we are not.  We have a guest with us today on FamilyLife Today that I think is going to minister to a lot of our listeners.  Actually I was introduced to this guest by my wife Barbara, who joins us on FamilyLife Today as well.  Welcome Sweetie. Barbara Rainey:  Thanks.  I’m glad to be here. Dennis:  Jerry Sittser has written this book A Grace Disguised which is a story out of his own life and it occurred a number of years ago.  Jerry lives in Spokane Washington up in the eastern section of that great state.  He is a professor of theology at Whitworth University and has a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and has his doctorate in history from the University of Chicago.  This leaves me with only one question Jerry, White Sox or Cubs? (laughter)Bob:  Or were you there long enough to even care? Dennis:  Oh he had to be if he had his PHD.   Jerry Sittser:  Dodgers! (laughter) Dennis:  Well, I do welcome you to the broadcast and I am grateful for you writing this book, A Grace Disguised.  I want Barbara to share with our listeners to help put in context out of which she gave me Jerry’s book.  Bob:  Was this something somebody gave you as a gift?   Barbara:  It was a book that someone had recommended to me a number of years ago.  I bought it and started reading it and it was in my library.  But I didn’t finish the book until last summer after our granddaughter Molly was born and only lived seven days and then died. As we began to try to make sense of what God had done and what He was up to I pulled that book off the shelf.  This time I had a real heart for it.  I needed it.  I read it all the way through and I was constantly underlining and reading portions of it to Dennis and saying “listen to what this says.”   I bought several copies and gave one to a couple of my daughters.  I gave one to Molly’s mother, Rebecca, and a couple of our other daughters, too.  I said you need to have this in your library and if you don’t read it all the way through right now you will read it eventually. Dennis:  It is really a love story of sorts that started when you met your wife Linda.  How did you meet her, Jerry? Jerry Sittser:  I was a student at Hope College and she was a student at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.  After I experienced a conversion between my sophomore and junior year we became very good friends.  Really best friends.  One day I was standing in a group of people and somebody got my attention from maybe 100 yards away and I turned and said something to them I’m sure.  I was a little cocky back then.   (laughter) Linda was in that circle and I turned back and our eyes met and that was it right there.  I just fell in love on the spot.    Dennis:  You were smitten. Jerry Sittser:  Oh, my goodness was I smitten. Bob:  But you’d known her for months before this?Jerry Sittser:  We were very good friends, yes. Bob:  So what in that moment you don’t know? Jerry Sittser:  I don’t know but our eyes met and it was just different.  So I asked her out a few days later and we were married eight months later.   Dennis:  No, no, no.  I want to know how you asked her to marry you because it has to be a great story. Jerry Sittser:  Well, we went up to some property that my family owned off the Grand River up in the hills.  We made a day of it and did some hiking and I had hidden a family heirloom a little silver container with the engagement ring inside it.  That also was the family stone.  I asked her to marry me.   Dennis:  You were married for 20 years.   Jerry Sittser:  Twenty years—just shy of 20 years and we had four children.   Dennis:  She was a homeschooler and she enjoyed teaching your kids.  Taking them on field trips, right? Jerry Sittser:  She was a multitalented woman.  She was very bright.  She was a professional musician and singer.  She was the choir director and the director of the professional children’s choir in Spokane and a paid soloist at our home church and also a homeschooler.  Dennis:  You were on a field trip where you went to Idaho and it was not a normal field trip that you would think of when you think of homeschoolers.   Jerry Sittser:  She had just completed a unit on Native American cultures to my two oldest who were being homeschooled at the time.  We went on a field trip to a Native American powwow.  We had dinner with the tribal leaders and had a wonderful time and wonderful conversation.   Ironically one of the topics that came up was the curse of alcoholism in the tribe and the violence that often resulted from it.  They spoke with great pain over that.  These were really wonderful people.  Some fine Christian people.    After the dinner with them we went to the powwow and enjoyed it.  My two daughters who were then eight and four actually went out and danced with the tribe for a while.  I continued my conversation with Linda and several of the tribal leaders until about 8:30 and then we decided to go home. Dennis:  Now this was 1991? Jerry Sittser:  1991 September 27.  Dennis:   And you were there with your wife and four children plus your own mom. Jerry Sittser:   My mom came for the weekend.  She and my wife were going to go dress shopping for a new dress for a solo performance she was going to be doing of the Messiah in December.  Typical for my mom she brought 12 quarts of frozen blueberries packed in ice.  It was so typical for what she would do.  She was a wonderful woman, a great grandma, and a great mom.  She was very close to our family.   Dennis:  You had gone to Idaho for this field trip and you decided to head back home to Spokane at that point? Jerry Sittser:  We did.  It was dark out obviously and on a lonely stretch of highway only about 10 minutes from where the powwow was held I noticed a car coming on at a really rapid rate of speed.  It slowed down just a little bit at a curve and so I was alert to this.   Without any warning he just drove right into me.  He missed the curve and plowed head on at 85 miles per hour.  In fact it was so head on that his car cart wheeled over ours.  So it didn’t roll it cart wheeled down the highway.   It was awful.  In the wake of that accident as soon as I could I collected myself.  I was not injured seriously just bruised and that sort of thing.  I looked around and knew that it was really bad.  My mother who was sitting way in the back was seriously injured.  My four year old I could tell was dead.  She had a broken neck.  I tried to get a pulse and did mouth to mouth but it was hopeless.  I could tell my wife, Linda, was catastrophically injured, too.   My other kids were dazed, crying, and screaming.  It was chaotic.  All the windows were broken out of the car.  My door could open and I got the kids out who were mobile.  Katherine was eight and John was six and David was two.  I found out later that John had a broken femur and some other injuries but the other two kids were just bruised but okay.  I went back to try to tend to Linda.  I got a pulse but knew she wasn’t going to live because her injuries were just too severe.  I did mouth to mouth on Diana Jane but she was gone.   I got to my mother only briefly but then something beautiful happened.  You find these flowers in the midst of ashes almost right away.  People began to stop.  The scene was chaotic.  The driver survived but his wife who was nine months pregnant died and the unborn baby died as well.  There were five casualties in the accident.   Some guy got out of the car and went over to my mother and reached out to her through the broken window and held her hand and stroked her arm until she died.  That is a beautiful act of grace to me.  It was very courageous of him in the midst of that chaos and that violence to break through that with mercy and love.  I wish I knew who that man was because I’d like to thank him. Bob:  What a surreal moment that had to be for you.  Almost like you’ve stepped out of time and space and your body…I don’t know how to describe it other than just surreal.Jerry Sittser:  Yes, it was surreal.  I have such vivid memories to this day.   Nothing has faded at all.  First it was a nightmare to have those kinds of memories.  It’s not so bad anymore because it’s been integrated into the landscape of my life.  It doesn’t haunt me like it used to.   We waited a long time before emergency vehicles came and they took over.  I got to a phone as soon as I could to call my sister to say something unspeakable had happened.  After about an hour the survivors, namely my three children Katherine, John and David and I were all put in the same emergency vehicle and were transported another hour up to Coeur d’Alene for emergency care.   That one hour was probably the most significant hour in my life.  It really was the turning point for me.  It was like a wormhole from one reality to another.  Honestly it’s the most accurate way I can describe it.  Time ceased to have meaning.  It could have been ten years.  That period of time is frozen in my memory and it was probably the most rational moment I’ve ever had in my life.  It was quiet.  John was sedated.  The other kids were whimpering but it was quiet.  The emergency personnel didn’t say anything and I had one hour to just be.  I thought about the accident and the scene.  I knew what had happened and I thought of what would be as a result.   I considered the task set before me.  I had a burden that was placed on my shoulders and in a sense a divine mandate that said you draw a line in the sand right now and decide what you want to be and what you want to come from this experience.  And I did.  I said, I want the bleeding to stop right here.  This is it.  I don’t want to do things that are going to set in motion more and more pain and more and more bleeding that could go on for generations.   I made the basic decision right then and there that I was going to somehow by the grace of God respond and live this story out in a way that was going to be redemptive.  Redemption was really the key term that just kept coming back to me.  Redemption.  This is not the final word.   Dennis:  I want out listeners to hear what’s wrapped up in your statement because you make this statement in your book.  You said loss does not have to be the defining moment in our lives instead the defining moment can be our response to that loss.  It’s not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us.  You really believe that don’t you? Jerry Sittser:  I do believe it by the grace of God.  I didn’t write a self help book here.  I don’t believe that.  The ultimate message of Christianity is not self help it is God’s help.  Through a long and often difficult journey I really did discover that the Christian faith is true.   Grace really is available to get us through these hard stretches of life.  My response of choosing to trust the grace of God was far more significant than the event itself.  You know my kids would say the same thing today.  They would say that the accident is actually not that significant.  It is what’s come out of it that is significant.  Bob:  What seems remarkable to me as you describe this hour of rational clarity is the absence of grief.  I think of someone living through what you have just lived through and I would think this person would be a grieving basket case.  It’s not that you didn’t experience grief.   Jerry Sittser:  No, I did. Bob:  Do you think this was kind of a shock response or was this the grace of God giving you this moment of clarity to prepare you for what was ahead?  Jerry Sittser:  I suppose you could say there was some shock involved in it but Bob, there was something more than that honestly.  I look back on it this day with a sense of wonder.  It wasn’t simply that I had not absorbed the significance.   I knew what had happened to me.   It wasn’t even as if I was holding it off.  I think God gave me that gift.  I think He gave me one hour to decide what I was going to believe and where I was going to head and I walked out of that emergency vehicle in Coeur d’Alene into a different world.  I collapsed.  It was hard going for a long time.   Bob:  Can I ask the two of you did you experience anything similar to that, Barbara, in going through what you went through with the death of Molly? Barbara:  I think we did but it wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic as what Jerry was describing.  We watched our kids and as we watched them respond to the news that Molly was not going to live they had a choice to make in those first moments.  I think those early moments of facing tragedy and loss in a crisis like that are the defining moments.   They decided they were going to believe God.  They were going to believe that He was good and that He was sufficient and that He knew what He was doing.  That really set the course for them from there on out.  So I think in the moment of crisis I think God gives us that opportunity to choose.  Do we believe Him or not?   Jerry Sittser:    I like what Barbara said about defining a course because that’s different from solving all the problems.  When you suffer a loss whether it be divorce or terminal illness or loss of a job it can be other things that are a little less dramatic and tragic.  I think we do have the power to set a course and that makes a huge difference over a long period of time.  It doesn’t solve all the problems but it gets us going in a particular direction.  I think I did that by the grace of God.   Bob:  You know people or have met people who just dissolved in their moment of pain and didn’t have that rational clarity that you described.   Jerry Sittser:  I think what happens is we give some kind of tragedy more power than it deserves.  It does become the defining moment instead of the response being the defining moment.  It’s the thing itself and then pretty soon it’s affecting other relationships.    It’s affecting life habits that we form and 20 or 30 years later that divorce or loss or whatever continues to dominate our lives.  That’s what I call the second death and it’s actually worse than the initial death.  Far worse than the loss of Linda and my mom and Diana Jane would have been say the loss my children would have experienced in my bitterness.  In fact I have an interesting story to tell you.   About six months or a year after the accident I got an anonymous telephone call from a young woman who said, “Mr. Sittser I want to tell you my story.  When I was a young girl my mother died of cancer and I’ve been in therapy for six years.  I thought to myself this is not a helpful conversation she said no let me continue my story.   “I’m in therapy not because I lost my mother but I lost my father at the same time and he is still alive. He became non functional and so overcome with grief and bitterness that I lost both parents but my dad is still alive.  She said, don’t let that happen to you” and she hung up the phone.   Now she didn’t give me new information but it was a wonderful reminder to me that the role I was playing was significant.  By my own attitude and spirit I was setting a course and I was giving cues to my children.   Dennis:  You are also making choices for your own life that are going to determine who you become as a man.  I think of the listeners who have eavesdropped today in terms of hearing this story.  I wonder what they are facing because all of us experience loss.  If you live long enough you will experience loss.  The Bible is a very lofty book but it’s also a very gritty book that meets us in the midst of our grief.   You made a statement Jerry that I want to underline.  I really understand why a loss can become central to our lives and why the grief that surrounds it can become the defining moment.  It hurts.  It is terrible.  As you describe it it’s catastrophic but I like what you did in your book.  You called us away from the focus on the circumstances to focus on the God of all grace and mercy who can bring hope and healing.  He can keep us from becoming embittered in that process.   Bob:  Barbara, in the weeks that followed in the birth and death of your granddaughter Molly you had a lot of people send you quotes and recommend articles or books.  This book was the one God used most powerfully, wasn’t it? Barbara:  Yes.  It was.   There were other things, too, but this was the book that I read through that really resonated in my soul.  Jerry talked about not just the loss of death but all kinds of loss and how our identity is wrapped up in how we respond to that loss.  It was really profound in my life.   Bob:  I think both of you will be encouraged to know that we have a lot of listeners over the last several weeks who have contacted us to get a copy of Jerry’s book called A Grace Disguised.  We still have copies in our FamilyLife Resource Center.   You can go to our web site FamilyLifeToday.com and find information about Jerry’s book which is called A Grace Disguised:  How the Soul Grows Through Loss.  You’ll find it available there along with copies of the book that you’ve just finished writing Barbara along with your daughter Rebecca called A Symphony in the Dark: Hearing God’s Voice in Seasons of Grief.  It focuses in on the events of a year ago when your granddaughter Molly was born and lived for seven days and how your family processed that season of grief.   Again both of these books are available from us at FamilyLife Today.  Go to our web site FamilyLife Today.com.  You can order online from us if you’d like or if it’s easier call 1-800-FL-TODAY.  That’s 1-800-358-6329.  That’s 1 800 “F”as in family “L” as in life and then the word TODAY and we can make arrangements to have whichever of these books you’d like or both of them sent out to you. We also want to take a couple of minutes and say thanks to those of you who help underwrite this daily radio program.  Your financial support of FamilyLife Today is what keeps this program on the air.  It helps defray the costs of production and syndication to keep this program on more than a thousand radio stations and outlets all across the country.  It is available online and audio streaming and as a podcast.  Thanks to those of you who help make that happen by making donations on a regular basis for the ministry of FamilyLife Today.   This month if you’re able to help with a donation of any amount to the ministry of FamilyLife Today we have a CD we’d like to send you.  This CD features a conversation we had several months ago with Nancy Leigh DeMoss the popular author and speaker and the host of the daily radio program, Revive Our Hearts.  Our conversation was on the subject of forgiveness and what the Bible says about forgiveness.  Nancy has written a great book called Choosing Forgiveness and I know that this is a subject that a lot of people struggle with.  Jerry you addressed it in your book A Grace Disguised.   This CD is our way of saying thank you to you this month when you support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount.  If you’re making that donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com all you have to do is type the word “forgive” in the key code box on the donation form and we’ll know to send a copy of the CD to you. Or call toll-free 1 800 FLTODAY.   Make your donation over the phone and just ask for the CD on forgiveness or the CD with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Again we are happy to send it to you and we do appreciate your support of this ministry.  Thanks for partnering with us.   Tomorrow we’re going to talk about life getting back to normal after a catastrophic event like the one Jerry Sittser experienced almost two decades ago now.  We’ll find out if life ever does get back to normal or if it’s just a new normal.  I hope you can join us 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. Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow. © 2009 FamilyLife   We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you.  However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?   Copyright © FamilyLife.  All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry Sittser
Jan 6 2020
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry Sittser
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 2) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 3) - Jerry SittserFamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Descending Into the Valley Guest:                         Jerry Sittser From the series:          A Grace Disguised  (Day 1 of 3)  Bob:  There are times in the midst of trials and traumas of life when we wonder to ourselves where is God?  Why did He let this happen?   For Jerry Sittser one of those events occurred in 1991 when he and his wife and their four children and Jerry’s mother were hit head on by a vehicle traveling at 85 miles per hour.  The collision was fatal for Jerry’s wife and for his mom and for one of his four children.  As Jerry reflects back on that event today he sees it as something that was ultimately faith affirming.   Jerry Sittser:  Through a long and often difficult journey I really did discover the Christian faith is true.  Grace really is available to get us through these hard stretches of life.  The ultimate message of Christianity is not self help it is God’s help.   Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Monday July 6th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  We’ll hear today how a tragic car accident can be a grace disguised.   Welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.  You and I were having a conversation not long ago with Dr. Al Moeller, the President of Southern Seminary and we asked him about questions he gets thrown by the secular media.  We said the tough questions are the ones they ask you.  What are the ones that put you on the spot?  Without even thinking he said we always come back to the issue of the problem of evil and suffering.  How can there be a good God when there is suffering in the world?   Dennis:  We don’t always know what God is up to.  He is God and we are not.  We have a guest with us today on FamilyLife Today that I think is going to minister to a lot of our listeners.  Actually I was introduced to this guest by my wife Barbara, who joins us on FamilyLife Today as well.  Welcome Sweetie. Barbara Rainey:  Thanks.  I’m glad to be here. Dennis:  Jerry Sittser has written this book A Grace Disguised which is a story out of his own life and it occurred a number of years ago.  Jerry lives in Spokane Washington up in the eastern section of that great state.  He is a professor of theology at Whitworth University and has a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and has his doctorate in history from the University of Chicago.  This leaves me with only one question Jerry, White Sox or Cubs? (laughter)Bob:  Or were you there long enough to even care? Dennis:  Oh he had to be if he had his PHD.   Jerry Sittser:  Dodgers! (laughter) Dennis:  Well, I do welcome you to the broadcast and I am grateful for you writing this book, A Grace Disguised.  I want Barbara to share with our listeners to help put in context out of which she gave me Jerry’s book.  Bob:  Was this something somebody gave you as a gift?   Barbara:  It was a book that someone had recommended to me a number of years ago.  I bought it and started reading it and it was in my library.  But I didn’t finish the book until last summer after our granddaughter Molly was born and only lived seven days and then died. As we began to try to make sense of what God had done and what He was up to I pulled that book off the shelf.  This time I had a real heart for it.  I needed it.  I read it all the way through and I was constantly underlining and reading portions of it to Dennis and saying “listen to what this says.”   I bought several copies and gave one to a couple of my daughters.  I gave one to Molly’s mother, Rebecca, and a couple of our other daughters, too.  I said you need to have this in your library and if you don’t read it all the way through right now you will read it eventually. Dennis:  It is really a love story of sorts that started when you met your wife Linda.  How did you meet her, Jerry? Jerry Sittser:  I was a student at Hope College and she was a student at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.  After I experienced a conversion between my sophomore and junior year we became very good friends.  Really best friends.  One day I was standing in a group of people and somebody got my attention from maybe 100 yards away and I turned and said something to them I’m sure.  I was a little cocky back then.   (laughter) Linda was in that circle and I turned back and our eyes met and that was it right there.  I just fell in love on the spot.    Dennis:  You were smitten. Jerry Sittser:  Oh, my goodness was I smitten. Bob:  But you’d known her for months before this?Jerry Sittser:  We were very good friends, yes. Bob:  So what in that moment you don’t know? Jerry Sittser:  I don’t know but our eyes met and it was just different.  So I asked her out a few days later and we were married eight months later.   Dennis:  No, no, no.  I want to know how you asked her to marry you because it has to be a great story. Jerry Sittser:  Well, we went up to some property that my family owned off the Grand River up in the hills.  We made a day of it and did some hiking and I had hidden a family heirloom a little silver container with the engagement ring inside it.  That also was the family stone.  I asked her to marry me.   Dennis:  You were married for 20 years.   Jerry Sittser:  Twenty years—just shy of 20 years and we had four children.   Dennis:  She was a homeschooler and she enjoyed teaching your kids.  Taking them on field trips, right? Jerry Sittser:  She was a multitalented woman.  She was very bright.  She was a professional musician and singer.  She was the choir director and the director of the professional children’s choir in Spokane and a paid soloist at our home church and also a homeschooler.  Dennis:  You were on a field trip where you went to Idaho and it was not a normal field trip that you would think of when you think of homeschoolers.   Jerry Sittser:  She had just completed a unit on Native American cultures to my two oldest who were being homeschooled at the time.  We went on a field trip to a Native American powwow.  We had dinner with the tribal leaders and had a wonderful time and wonderful conversation.   Ironically one of the topics that came up was the curse of alcoholism in the tribe and the violence that often resulted from it.  They spoke with great pain over that.  These were really wonderful people.  Some fine Christian people.    After the dinner with them we went to the powwow and enjoyed it.  My two daughters who were then eight and four actually went out and danced with the tribe for a while.  I continued my conversation with Linda and several of the tribal leaders until about 8:30 and then we decided to go home. Dennis:  Now this was 1991? Jerry Sittser:  1991 September 27.  Dennis:   And you were there with your wife and four children plus your own mom. Jerry Sittser:   My mom came for the weekend.  She and my wife were going to go dress shopping for a new dress for a solo performance she was going to be doing of the Messiah in December.  Typical for my mom she brought 12 quarts of frozen blueberries packed in ice.  It was so typical for what she would do.  She was a wonderful woman, a great grandma, and a great mom.  She was very close to our family.   Dennis:  You had gone to Idaho for this field trip and you decided to head back home to Spokane at that point? Jerry Sittser:  We did.  It was dark out obviously and on a lonely stretch of highway only about 10 minutes from where the powwow was held I noticed a car coming on at a really rapid rate of speed.  It slowed down just a little bit at a curve and so I was alert to this.   Without any warning he just drove right into me.  He missed the curve and plowed head on at 85 miles per hour.  In fact it was so head on that his car cart wheeled over ours.  So it didn’t roll it cart wheeled down the highway.   It was awful.  In the wake of that accident as soon as I could I collected myself.  I was not injured seriously just bruised and that sort of thing.  I looked around and knew that it was really bad.  My mother who was sitting way in the back was seriously injured.  My four year old I could tell was dead.  She had a broken neck.  I tried to get a pulse and did mouth to mouth but it was hopeless.  I could tell my wife, Linda, was catastrophically injured, too.   My other kids were dazed, crying, and screaming.  It was chaotic.  All the windows were broken out of the car.  My door could open and I got the kids out who were mobile.  Katherine was eight and John was six and David was two.  I found out later that John had a broken femur and some other injuries but the other two kids were just bruised but okay.  I went back to try to tend to Linda.  I got a pulse but knew she wasn’t going to live because her injuries were just too severe.  I did mouth to mouth on Diana Jane but she was gone.   I got to my mother only briefly but then something beautiful happened.  You find these flowers in the midst of ashes almost right away.  People began to stop.  The scene was chaotic.  The driver survived but his wife who was nine months pregnant died and the unborn baby died as well.  There were five casualties in the accident.   Some guy got out of the car and went over to my mother and reached out to her through the broken window and held her hand and stroked her arm until she died.  That is a beautiful act of grace to me.  It was very courageous of him in the midst of that chaos and that violence to break through that with mercy and love.  I wish I knew who that man was because I’d like to thank him. Bob:  What a surreal moment that had to be for you.  Almost like you’ve stepped out of time and space and your body…I don’t know how to describe it other than just surreal.Jerry Sittser:  Yes, it was surreal.  I have such vivid memories to this day.   Nothing has faded at all.  First it was a nightmare to have those kinds of memories.  It’s not so bad anymore because it’s been integrated into the landscape of my life.  It doesn’t haunt me like it used to.   We waited a long time before emergency vehicles came and they took over.  I got to a phone as soon as I could to call my sister to say something unspeakable had happened.  After about an hour the survivors, namely my three children Katherine, John and David and I were all put in the same emergency vehicle and were transported another hour up to Coeur d’Alene for emergency care.   That one hour was probably the most significant hour in my life.  It really was the turning point for me.  It was like a wormhole from one reality to another.  Honestly it’s the most accurate way I can describe it.  Time ceased to have meaning.  It could have been ten years.  That period of time is frozen in my memory and it was probably the most rational moment I’ve ever had in my life.  It was quiet.  John was sedated.  The other kids were whimpering but it was quiet.  The emergency personnel didn’t say anything and I had one hour to just be.  I thought about the accident and the scene.  I knew what had happened and I thought of what would be as a result.   I considered the task set before me.  I had a burden that was placed on my shoulders and in a sense a divine mandate that said you draw a line in the sand right now and decide what you want to be and what you want to come from this experience.  And I did.  I said, I want the bleeding to stop right here.  This is it.  I don’t want to do things that are going to set in motion more and more pain and more and more bleeding that could go on for generations.   I made the basic decision right then and there that I was going to somehow by the grace of God respond and live this story out in a way that was going to be redemptive.  Redemption was really the key term that just kept coming back to me.  Redemption.  This is not the final word.   Dennis:  I want out listeners to hear what’s wrapped up in your statement because you make this statement in your book.  You said loss does not have to be the defining moment in our lives instead the defining moment can be our response to that loss.  It’s not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us.  You really believe that don’t you? Jerry Sittser:  I do believe it by the grace of God.  I didn’t write a self help book here.  I don’t believe that.  The ultimate message of Christianity is not self help it is God’s help.  Through a long and often difficult journey I really did discover that the Christian faith is true.   Grace really is available to get us through these hard stretches of life.  My response of choosing to trust the grace of God was far more significant than the event itself.  You know my kids would say the same thing today.  They would say that the accident is actually not that significant.  It is what’s come out of it that is significant.  Bob:  What seems remarkable to me as you describe this hour of rational clarity is the absence of grief.  I think of someone living through what you have just lived through and I would think this person would be a grieving basket case.  It’s not that you didn’t experience grief.   Jerry Sittser:  No, I did. Bob:  Do you think this was kind of a shock response or was this the grace of God giving you this moment of clarity to prepare you for what was ahead?  Jerry Sittser:  I suppose you could say there was some shock involved in it but Bob, there was something more than that honestly.  I look back on it this day with a sense of wonder.  It wasn’t simply that I had not absorbed the significance.   I knew what had happened to me.   It wasn’t even as if I was holding it off.  I think God gave me that gift.  I think He gave me one hour to decide what I was going to believe and where I was going to head and I walked out of that emergency vehicle in Coeur d’Alene into a different world.  I collapsed.  It was hard going for a long time.   Bob:  Can I ask the two of you did you experience anything similar to that, Barbara, in going through what you went through with the death of Molly? Barbara:  I think we did but it wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic as what Jerry was describing.  We watched our kids and as we watched them respond to the news that Molly was not going to live they had a choice to make in those first moments.  I think those early moments of facing tragedy and loss in a crisis like that are the defining moments.   They decided they were going to believe God.  They were going to believe that He was good and that He was sufficient and that He knew what He was doing.  That really set the course for them from there on out.  So I think in the moment of crisis I think God gives us that opportunity to choose.  Do we believe Him or not?   Jerry Sittser:    I like what Barbara said about defining a course because that’s different from solving all the problems.  When you suffer a loss whether it be divorce or terminal illness or loss of a job it can be other things that are a little less dramatic and tragic.  I think we do have the power to set a course and that makes a huge difference over a long period of time.  It doesn’t solve all the problems but it gets us going in a particular direction.  I think I did that by the grace of God.   Bob:  You know people or have met people who just dissolved in their moment of pain and didn’t have that rational clarity that you described.   Jerry Sittser:  I think what happens is we give some kind of tragedy more power than it deserves.  It does become the defining moment instead of the response being the defining moment.  It’s the thing itself and then pretty soon it’s affecting other relationships.    It’s affecting life habits that we form and 20 or 30 years later that divorce or loss or whatever continues to dominate our lives.  That’s what I call the second death and it’s actually worse than the initial death.  Far worse than the loss of Linda and my mom and Diana Jane would have been say the loss my children would have experienced in my bitterness.  In fact I have an interesting story to tell you.   About six months or a year after the accident I got an anonymous telephone call from a young woman who said, “Mr. Sittser I want to tell you my story.  When I was a young girl my mother died of cancer and I’ve been in therapy for six years.  I thought to myself this is not a helpful conversation she said no let me continue my story.   “I’m in therapy not because I lost my mother but I lost my father at the same time and he is still alive. He became non functional and so overcome with grief and bitterness that I lost both parents but my dad is still alive.  She said, don’t let that happen to you” and she hung up the phone.   Now she didn’t give me new information but it was a wonderful reminder to me that the role I was playing was significant.  By my own attitude and spirit I was setting a course and I was giving cues to my children.   Dennis:  You are also making choices for your own life that are going to determine who you become as a man.  I think of the listeners who have eavesdropped today in terms of hearing this story.  I wonder what they are facing because all of us experience loss.  If you live long enough you will experience loss.  The Bible is a very lofty book but it’s also a very gritty book that meets us in the midst of our grief.   You made a statement Jerry that I want to underline.  I really understand why a loss can become central to our lives and why the grief that surrounds it can become the defining moment.  It hurts.  It is terrible.  As you describe it it’s catastrophic but I like what you did in your book.  You called us away from the focus on the circumstances to focus on the God of all grace and mercy who can bring hope and healing.  He can keep us from becoming embittered in that process.   Bob:  Barbara, in the weeks that followed in the birth and death of your granddaughter Molly you had a lot of people send you quotes and recommend articles or books.  This book was the one God used most powerfully, wasn’t it? Barbara:  Yes.  It was.   There were other things, too, but this was the book that I read through that really resonated in my soul.  Jerry talked about not just the loss of death but all kinds of loss and how our identity is wrapped up in how we respond to that loss.  It was really profound in my life.   Bob:  I think both of you will be encouraged to know that we have a lot of listeners over the last several weeks who have contacted us to get a copy of Jerry’s book called A Grace Disguised.  We still have copies in our FamilyLife Resource Center.   You can go to our web site FamilyLifeToday.com and find information about Jerry’s book which is called A Grace Disguised:  How the Soul Grows Through Loss.  You’ll find it available there along with copies of the book that you’ve just finished writing Barbara along with your daughter Rebecca called A Symphony in the Dark: Hearing God’s Voice in Seasons of Grief.  It focuses in on the events of a year ago when your granddaughter Molly was born and lived for seven days and how your family processed that season of grief.   Again both of these books are available from us at FamilyLife Today.  Go to our web site FamilyLife Today.com.  You can order online from us if you’d like or if it’s easier call 1-800-FL-TODAY.  That’s 1-800-358-6329.  That’s 1 800 “F”as in family “L” as in life and then the word TODAY and we can make arrangements to have whichever of these books you’d like or both of them sent out to you. We also want to take a couple of minutes and say thanks to those of you who help underwrite this daily radio program.  Your financial support of FamilyLife Today is what keeps this program on the air.  It helps defray the costs of production and syndication to keep this program on more than a thousand radio stations and outlets all across the country.  It is available online and audio streaming and as a podcast.  Thanks to those of you who help make that happen by making donations on a regular basis for the ministry of FamilyLife Today.   This month if you’re able to help with a donation of any amount to the ministry of FamilyLife Today we have a CD we’d like to send you.  This CD features a conversation we had several months ago with Nancy Leigh DeMoss the popular author and speaker and the host of the daily radio program, Revive Our Hearts.  Our conversation was on the subject of forgiveness and what the Bible says about forgiveness.  Nancy has written a great book called Choosing Forgiveness and I know that this is a subject that a lot of people struggle with.  Jerry you addressed it in your book A Grace Disguised.   This CD is our way of saying thank you to you this month when you support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation of any amount.  If you’re making that donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com all you have to do is type the word “forgive” in the key code box on the donation form and we’ll know to send a copy of the CD to you. Or call toll-free 1 800 FLTODAY.   Make your donation over the phone and just ask for the CD on forgiveness or the CD with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Again we are happy to send it to you and we do appreciate your support of this ministry.  Thanks for partnering with us.   Tomorrow we’re going to talk about life getting back to normal after a catastrophic event like the one Jerry Sittser experienced almost two decades ago now.  We’ll find out if life ever does get back to normal or if it’s just a new normal.  I hope you can join us 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. Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow. © 2009 FamilyLife   We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you.  However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?   Copyright © FamilyLife.  All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Grace Disguised (Part 2) - Jerry Sittser
Jan 6 2020
A Grace Disguised (Part 2) - Jerry Sittser
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 2) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 3) - Jerry SittserFamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Walking By Faith Through Irreversible Loss Guest:                         Jerry Sittser From the series:          A Grace Disguised (Day 2 of 3)  Bob:  Jerry Sittser understands grief and loss in a profound way.   He and three of his children escaped from a car accident that took the life of his wife, his mother and one of his four children.  How long would it take for someone to recover from a loss like that?  Here’s Jerry Sittser.  Jerry Sittser:  Through a long and often difficult journey I really did discover the Christian faith is true.  Grace really is available to get us through these hard stretches of life.  The ultimate message of Christianity is not self help.  It is God’s help.   Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, July 7th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey and I’m Bob Lepine.  Jerry Sittser says when the landscape of life has been permanently altered God’s grace is there to help you make some sense of the loss and to give you peace.   Welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us.  We have been talking a lot not just this week but in recent weeks about the subject of loss.  We’re trying to help listeners understand that your responses to the loss you will experience in life will help shape you and your family and your marriage and your whole life. Dennis:  It will.  In fact, our guest on today’s program is really the result of losses that Barbara and I have experienced in recent days.  In fact I want to welcome Barbara to the broadcast again.   Barbara Rainey:  Thank you. Dennis:  Thanks for joining us again Sweetheart and thanks for recommending Jerry Sittser’s book A Grace Disguised. Jerry I want to welcome you to our broadcast.  Welcome back. Jerry Sittser:  Thank you.  It’s a privilege.  Jerry is the professor of theology at Whitworth University in Spokane Washington.  As we mentioned earlier Jerry’s book was used in our family as it was recommended to Barbara by a friend.  She started reading it after our daughter Rebecca and her husband, Jake, lost their daughter Molly after only seven days.  This book really helped Barbara and me as well as Jake and Rebecca process through how the soul processes grief.   We mentioned earlier how you lost your wife, your mom and your daughter in a tragic car wreck in 1991.  That really is the genesis of this book.  I have to ask you a big picture question.  If you could summarize what you think God is up to when He allows us to experience grief what would you say?  You’ve experienced it on a profound level that few people will ever experience it.  What do you think He’s up to in grief? Jerry Sittser:  I am not sure I can answer that question in a word.  That’s a very difficult question actually.  I think over all I would say that God is in the business of reclaiming people who have turned away from Him.  He created us in His image.  He created us to be gloriously beautiful people who participate in the divine glory.  The perfect relationship that exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we’ve turned away from that.   That divine image has been marred and made perverse.  He wants not simply to save us.  He wants to reclaim us and restore us and one of the ways that happens like it or not is through suffering.  I honestly think suffering is necessary in the Christian faith.   It happens in lots of different ways some we can choose like the suffering that comes when we deny our appetites and practice self discipline.  John Calvin called it self denial.   Sometimes that suffering is imposed upon us through some kind of loss or tragedy.   Either way we need some kind of suffering not masochistically but honestly realistic to become the holy people God wants us to be and to draw us into a vital relationship with Him.   Bob:   Grief that we experience when we go through a loss to what extent are we in…I don’t want to use the word control but to what extent do we have power over that grief?  And to what extent does the grief have power over us?  Do you know what I’m asking here? Jerry Sittser:  Well, I’ll start by saying this.  I don’t think God causes these things as if He were some kind of divine manipulator who hovers above the ground and zaps us with cancer or divorce or job loss or loss of portfolio or loss of a loved one.  I think that is a very poor mechanistic view of the sovereignty of God.  I think God is in it.  God’s sovereignty is in it.  I don’t think God causes it in that kind of crude kind of way.  I will say God uses it.  God’s in it in that sense.   Our choice is whether we’re going to respond to the work the sanctifying work God is trying to do in our lives.  Does grief and loss have power?  Of course it does.  It can change the entire course of our lives.   But I think the greater power is the way we respond by faith to God’s work in our lives.  It’s a hard thing to say.  It sounds so easy and so trivial.  Oh you know God’s trying to sanctify us.  I almost resist saying it because I don’t what it to come across kind of cheap as if I’m quoting a Bible answer or a Bible verse and that verse is going to make everything right.  Well, God works all things out for good for those who love Him.  I mean that is a true statement.  I believe that with all my heart but I also believe that is extraordinarily hard to work out in normal life.   Bob:  There were times when I’m sure the grief had to be…I don’t know if I want to say overwhelming or just so compelling that you felt powerless against it.   Jerry Sittser:  Of course.  I think any true catastrophic loss leads to that.  That’s the difference between a normal loss from which you’ll recover like you’re high school athlete and you break your leg and lose the season.  It’s a big loss and it’s hard but you’re going to get your leg back again and you might be able to play another season.   There’s a big difference between that kind of loss though significant and the loss of a spouse or the loss of your health.  I call those irreversible losses and I’ll tell you they have power.  We’re fools not to acknowledge the power they have.   Barbara:  Interestingly I was with our daughter Rebecca a couple of weeks ago and she and her husband, Jacob, had renewed hope.  They had gotten pregnant with baby #2 and then at 14 weeks gestation the baby died.  She had to deliver this still born baby at 16 weeks.  Go through the labor and delivery which was traumatic in and of itself but as I was there for a week and we had many really wonderful conversations.   During that time one of the things Rebecca said to me that was really profound was we’re not as fragile as we think we are.  We feel like in these really hard times that we won’t survive but she said I’ve learned that we can handle a lot more than we think that we can handle.  Because God strengthens us to go through these things that he takes us through.   She said I’m just amazed that I can go through this and still live.  Because you feel like you won’t live.  You feel like you’re going to die because of the burden of the grief.  She said I’ve learned we are stronger than we think we are.  We aren’t as fragile as people as we imagined that we would be when looking at a situation like that. Bob:  Did you feel like you weren’t going to live in the days that followed your wife’s death? Jerry Sittser:  No I think that maybe that’s a little too extreme.  I knew somewhere deep inside my soul that God was still God.  I had to live in this dynamic tension between acknowledging the severity of the loss on all levels.  Not just intellectual but emotional.   Grief has its way.   It is corrosive.  It gets to you.  You can push it away for a month or a few months.  You can work hard.  You can develop bad habits and do whatever you want to run away but eventually it’s going to get its way.  It’s going to tell you that those people are gone and they are never going to come back again.  So that’s one side of things.   Acknowledging the severity of the loss on the other hand also requires us to live by faith and to recognize there is a bigger story being told.  God is somehow in this even if we don’t see how He is.  Even if we don’t have any evidence at our immediate disposal that God is God and God is good somehow we have to believe that that is still the case.    You have to live in that tension.  If you pretend it’s not severe it’s like painting over mold.  You don’t want to give that mold too much power either.   Recognize that you can get rid of that mold and put on fresh paint and make that wall beautiful again.  It’s a very delicate process to navigate through the months and sometimes the years involved. Bob:  So you’re not saying to somebody keep a stiff upper lip and deny the anguish of your soul in the midst of grief. Jerry Sittser:  I don’t think so.  I don’t think the Bible teaches that either.   You look at the book of Psalms and fifty percent or about 75 of them are devoted to the Psalms of lament…The anguish of the soul in the face of unanswerable questions or so it seems at the time and unimaginable loss and grief…the trail of enemies and this kind of thing.   We have a kind of emotional handbook right in the Bible that’s acknowledging the severity of these kind of losses.  I think it’s not wise to pretend that they don’t exist or they aren’t serious.  They don’t have the final word.  That’s what a Christian believes.  The final word is the Resurrection.   Dennis:  Jerry, you describe a scene in the mortuary where you visited the three caskets and you asked to have them opened.  You were there alone for about an hour.  You said that point ushered you into a darkness.  Describe what took place in that setting in the mortuary? Jerry Sittser:  Well, it’s difficult.  You have to use images because language just fails as it does to all people who’ve gone through some kind of severe loss.  I felt like I was floating just in the universe and utterly cut off and alienated.  I looked around to see billions of stars.  The world seemed like a cold impersonal place.  It was really an awful experience for me.  But it also turned out to be a significant turning point for me too.   That very night or a few nights later I had a kind of waking dream.  It was a dream but it was not like a typical dream at all.  It was very vivid and real to me.  It is to this day.  In this dream I was chasing frantically after the sun that was slowly setting in the west.  I remember as I was running that there was the frantic panicked terrifying feeling.  It was as if that sun beat me to the horizon it would never come back to me again.   Finally the sun did sink below the horizon and I stopped exhausted and looked with a sense of foreboding to the darkness from the east that was sweeping over me.  Then I awoke from the dream and I felt a kind of extastential darkness.  It was if I was going to be in this darkness for the rest of my life.  It was really a terrible feeling.   I told a cousin this dream a few days later and he reminded me of a poem written by John Donne a very famous 17th century Anglican poet.  In the poem Donne says that on a flat map east and west are far removed from each other.  The farther east you go the farther removed you are from the west.  But on a globe if you go east you eventually meet west.   Then I talked to my sister about this and she said that’s the cue for you Jerry.  If you keep running west to try to stay in the fiery warmth of the setting sun you will actually stay in the darkness longer.  But if you have the courage to plunge into that darkness heading east even if you’re hanging by one thin thread of faith all the sooner will you come to the sunrise.  That was really a cue for me to head into darkness and let grief have its way with me assuming that I would all the sooner come to the sunrise.   Bob:  You did have a period of darkness in the days that followed.  There was depression and daily weeping.   As we sit here 18 years later talking about trusting in God in the midst of those days it was a hard journey you were on. Jerry Sittser:  It was a hard journey.  There were lots of tears and lots of tears of my kids.  Actually the hardest period was after the tears stopped.   The tears kind of turned to brine.  It became thick and bitter.  Almost like molasses.   It didn’t flow quite so easily.  That was darker still.  This is hard work.  It is for anybody who goes through a severe loss.   Dennis:   Yes and watching our daughter go through this both Barbara and I as parents have felt so powerless apart from our prayers.  There really are no words to be able to share.  Our daughter found a lot of healing and help in writing a blog.  I’ll never forget one of her blog entries where she described mourning the loss of her daughter and finding comfort by crawling up into the crib and weeping for the loss of her baby girl.   As those who peer in other people’s lives coach us a bit on how we can keep an appropriate distance and not be trite in what we say.  What should we say and do for that person who is entering or is in the valley of the shadow of death? Jerry Sittser:   I would say presence, consistency, patience, and symbolic gestures.  I have a young friend—well, she’s not so young any more—who was the accompanist to Linda’s voice students when we lived in Iowa and she has sent me a long letter and card on the anniversary of the accident for 18 years recalling incidences, sharing life and expressing sympathy.  She’s never too syrupy.  I find that kind of gesture profoundly meaningful.   When we aren’t affected by loss in the dailyness of life it’s easy to think that after two or three months people should be getting on with the business of life because we are getting on with the business of life.  But for those who are affected in a primary kind of way they are the ones who have suffered the loss and whose landscape of life is permanently altered they are living in that for a long period of time in one sense for the rest of their lives.   Now their perspective is going to change over time.  Mt. Rainier is always 14,410 feet.   It looks a lot bigger when you’re a mile away than when you are 50 miles away.  The size never changes.  Our perspective can change over time admittedly so I think that dailyness, consistency, presence and those symbolic gestures are probably the best we can do.   Then simply pick up on cues.  The cues like when they are ready to talk.  Be ready to listen.  When they really feel like they are ready to receive a word then you give it but never before that.   Dennis:  Yes. Jerry Sittser:  And what you don’t want to do is use words to try to somehow push the loss and its significance away.  Sometimes words can actually exacerbate the problem rather than help the problem.  I mean Job’s three friends did their best work when they just shut their mouths for a week and sat with Job on that heap of ashes.   Bob:  Barbara were there people in your life or in Jake and Rebecca’s lives who did some of those same things like symbolic gestures that Jerry is talking about.   Barbara:  Yes, there have been some remarkable young men and women friends of Jacob and Rebecca’s who have done things that I wouldn’t have thought to do.   On the very first Easter after Molly died one of their friends brought an Easter basket that was pink with pink candy and a pink bunny and bow and left it on their front porch and said Happy Easter.  It would have never occurred to me to do that but it was a powerful statement of love.  They didn’t stay themselves.  They just left it there.   So there have been those kinds of things that people have thought to do and what we’ve noticed and learned by watching them is if you have an idea of something like that act on it.  Because so often I think we think of an idea and think well that might not be a good thing to do.   The people who have encouraged Jacob and Rebecca the most are the ones who have had the thought to write them a note or have had the thought to drop off the Easter basket.  There have been other things too that they’ve thought of and acted on it. Bob:  Jerry I hear Barbara’s story about the Easter basket and I think to myself boy, I don’t know that I’d want to do that.  It’s almost like saying here’s a reminder on Easter that you lost your child nine months ago… Barbara:  They know it anyway. Jerry Sittser:  As if they aren’t thinking the same thing.  Are you kidding me? Barbara:  Of course they think about it. Jerry Sittser:  We did a lot of things as a family, too.  We always observe the anniversary of the accident and at key milestones we’d have dinner parties and I’d invite our key community of friends over and we’d observe it and I’d thank them.   My wife Linda would have been 60 in April and I talked to all of my kids and we kind of laughed about what it would be like for them to have a 60 year old mother.  We have been pretty mindful of these important milestones along the way even after all these years.  It’s not at all bitter any more.  We have a lot of good stories that have happened in these last 18 years.  It’s been very rich and meaningful for us but we still are mindful of this loss and these important dates and milestones.    Dennis:  Sometimes the grief will be expressed in a phone conversation or in person or in a letter or email where it’s clear that the person is truly grieving.  At that moment they are really hurting.   Recently I received an email from our daughter and her husband just around what they were experiencing and I started weeping.  I just wept.  I thought what can I say?  I just wrote back an email that said I’m weeping with you, Dad.Jerry Sittser:  Yes.    Dennis:  I think many times in our desire to help as you just exhorted us Jerry it’s back to that statement—I have regretted my speech but never my silence.  Sometimes the gift of presence and being there and letting someone know you are praying for them and you are there for them may be all that’s needed in that moment.  Never underestimate the power of a human being touching another life at a point of tremendous trauma and hurt in a catastrophic loss like you experienced. Bob:  And coming alongside with a gift like a copy of Jerry’s book and you can say you may not want to read this right now but at the right time I believe this book will minister to you in a profound way.   We have copies of Jerry’s book called A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  We would love to send you a copy.  Go to our web site FamilyLife Today.com.  Again that’s FamilyLifeToday.com.  You can order online from us if you’d like or if it’s easier call 1-800-FL-TODAY.  That’s 1-800-358-6329.   Let me also mention a book you have written Barbara along with your daughter Rebecca when your granddaughter Molly was born and lived for seven days before she died.  That book is called A Symphony in the Dark: Hearing God’s Voice in Seasons of Grief.  You can find more information about that book on our web site as well FamilyLife Today.com.  Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.  That’s 1 800 “F”as in family “L” as in life and then the word TODAY.   We also want to take a couple of minutes and say thanks to those of you who support the ministry of FamilyLife Today by making donations on a regular basis.  We are listener supported.  The costs associated with producing and syndicating are underwritten by those of you who contact us to make a donation to keep us on the air and to support the other ministries of FamilyLife.   We do appreciate that support and in fact this month we’d like to say thank you if you’re able to support the ministry with a donation of any amount.  We sat down not long ago with Nancy Leigh DeMoss the author of a number of books and the host of the daily radio program Revive Our Hearts.  We talked to her about the issue of forgiveness and what the Bible has to say about choosing to forgive.  Nancy has written a great book called Choosing Forgiveness and if you’d like to receive a CD of our conversation with her on this subject you can make a donation this month of any amount to the ministry of FamilyLife Today and simply request the CD as a thank you gift.   If you’re making that donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com all you have to do is type the word “forgive” in the key code box on the donation form and we’ll know to send a copy of the CD to you. Or call toll-free 1 800 FLTODAY.  Make your donation over the phone and just ask for the CD of our conversation with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  Again we are happy to send it to you and we do appreciate your support of this ministry.  Thanks for partnering with us.   Tomorrow we’ll talk about how we can be used by God to bring comfort to others as they experience loss and hope you can be with us as we continue our conversation with Jerry Sittser.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. Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow. © 2009 FamilyLife   We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you.  However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?   Copyright © FamilyLife.  All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Grace Disguised (Part 3) - Jerry Sittser
Jan 6 2020
A Grace Disguised (Part 3) - Jerry Sittser
A Grace Disguised (Part 1) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 2) - Jerry SittserA Grace Disguised (Part 3) - Jerry SittserFamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Forgiveness Guest:                         Jerry SittserFrom the series:          A Grace Disguised  (Day 3 of 3) Bob:   Proverbs 25:11 says, “A Word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” When someone has experienced loss we need to be careful that our words are fitly spoken.  Here’s Jerry Sittser… Jerry:  Sometimes words can actually exacerbate the problem rather than help the problem.  I mean, Job’s three friends did their best work when they just shut their mouths for a week and sat with Job on that heap of ashes.  The cue is, when they’re ready to talk, then you’re ready to listen. When they really feel like they are ready to receive a word, then you give it, but never before that.  And what you don’t want to do is use words to try to somehow push the loss and its significance away. Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, July 8th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey and I’m Bob Lepine.   We’ll here today how God shows up in the midst of loss.  And about how we can show up, too.   And welcome to FamilyLife Today and thanks for joining us.  Just as I was walking in here, I got an email from our mutual friend, Dr. Michael Easley, who is the pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Franklin, TN, and Michael sent me a prayer that he had written to send to a couple who had experienced the loss of a child a year ago today.  The child had lived two months and unexpectedly died.  And Michael wrote this prayer for them.   He said, I pray for you today that your memories will be sweet, that your hearts will be calmed, that you will find a non-anxious presence.  That you will choose to trust and see good when there is nothing for sure, that you will grieve, but not as those who have no hope, that you will find comfort and mercy in places others may never know.   That your “why” questions will be replaced with a confidence in knowing that, He knows, and that’s enough.  We love you and ask Him to pour mercy, kindness and hope into your hearts.  He does indeed know you and love you no matter what your experience may try to tell you. Dennis:  Bob, you know as I listen to those words, I think, how many people listening to this broadcast right now have experienced loss, some kind of major loss in their lives, in the past 5 to 10 years.   As I said earlier, if you live long enough, you will experience loss.  In fact, life is really made up of a lot of losses as we lose our childhood, and move into adulthood.  Some of those losses look good at the time but some of the losses aren’t easily figured out, in fact, some are never figured out on this side of heaven.  We’ve had a guest with us, Dr. Jerry Sittser who has helped us better understand the process of grieving through his book, A Grace Disguised. Welcome back. Jerry:  Thank you, it’s good to be here. Dennis:  I mentioned earlier, that Barbara had recommended this book to me after our daughter, Rebecca and her husband Jake, experienced the loss of their daughter after seven days of life.  And Barbara joins us on the broadcast as well.   Sweetie, welcome. Barbara:  Thank you, glad to be here. Dennis:  In fact, I hadn’t asked you this question, sweetheart.  As you read this book, what was it about Jerry’s book that most ministered to you, and why have you recommended it to so many people? Barbara:  Well, I wish I had my copy in front of me, I tried to find it this morning, and I can’t find where I set that thing.  But at any rate it’s all underlined and marked, and page corners turned back.   And one of the things I remember most vividly is early in the first few chapters, Jerry, you talk about how loss is loss and that it doesn’t do any good to compare losses, and to say that this loss is worse than that loss.  Because loss brings grief and it brings pain and that grief and that pain is real and it needs to be experienced.  It is what it is.  To try to explain it or measure it and say it’s not really that bad or it’s worse than this, doesn’t really make any difference in the long run.  I think we are so prone to wanting to measure and figure these things out.   The other piece I remember real vividly is a later chapter in the book, it talks about how our identity is changed by grief and loss and how so much of who we are is wrapped up in our identity with that thing or that person or that ability we have lost.  Whether it’s a divorce or a death, or whether it’s losing the ability through physical illness and how that personal identity is transformed through the process of loss and grief.  I thought that was really helpful and profound. Jerry:  I call that the amputation of the familiar self. Barbara:  That’s what it was, yes. Jerry:  It’s extraordinarily hard, because we are really defined by our location, our relationships, our work, these things provide sources of identity and when one of those is lopped off, it requires a pretty long and significant period of adjustment to figure out who you are in the wake of the loss of that thing, when that thing defined you to some degree.   We have these phantom pains, you know.  Phantom pains are the leg telling you it’s still there when you look down and it’s not there anymore.  That’s what an amputation does and we will go through a long period of time when we feel those phantom pains of still feeling like we are this person, we belong to this person, we do this particular line of work and this kind of thing, even though we don’t anymore. Bob:  How long was it for you in the weeks that followed the car accident where your wife and your daughter and your mother all were killed?  For how many months did you have this kind of reflexive phantom impulse to say, oh, I ought to call her and share this with her and then realize she’s not there? Jerry:  Well, for a long time.  Reflexive is the right word, too.   It is like a reflex, where it’s programmed in you, so automatic.  When after twenty years, when you call your spouse once or twice  a day just to check in, “Hi, honey, how’s it going and what are you doing, what are the kids doing, or how’s work going,” that sort of thing.  You can’t help but have your mind go there; just automatically, it happens a long time.  I would say after those months even though it wasn’t as reflexive as it once was, it still was an impulse in me.   And to tell you the truth, Bob, it still is, after 18 years.  Now, I don’t say that in despairing or bitter kind of way.  I still think about those people every day.  There’s not a day that goes by, I don’t.  And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I don’t like words like recovery; I think that gives us a kind of vain expectation as if we can get back to something we had before.   Dennis:  Some months before our granddaughter, Molly, died, I received an email from the gentleman who heads up FamilyLife in New Zealand.  His name is Andy Bray, he and his wife Nikki have given leadership to FamilyLife there for more than a dozen years.  Their daughter who was 15 or 16 years of age, at the time, was killed in a tragic flood in New Zealand along with 5 or 6 other young people who were all first class Christian leaders.   It was a reward trip for these young people, and I received that email some months before Molly’s death.  And I have to tell you that in those seven days of Molly’s life, I kept thinking, that has to be harder, a harder thing to bear, to have had a relationship with your daughter for 16 years and now, to say goodbye.   I mean it’s one thing for my daughter and son-in-law to have a relationship for seven days and say goodbye, and the more I tried to work this equation out in my mind, I came to the conclusion that it was futility.  It was a waste of time.  Am I wrong? Jerry:  No, you are right.  Comparing loss is vain.  It’s like comparing headaches; I mean people will describe their headaches in lots of different ways.  Well, how are you going to determine which one is worse?  I mean it’s silly in the first place.   I put it this way; all losses are bad, just bad in different ways.  How can you compare say the loss of a spouse to death and the loss of a spouse to divorce?  How can you compare the loss of a child to death or say the loss of a child to waywardness, they are both bad.  And they stand on their own and we need to treat them as unique and sacred in and of themselves.   I tell you that was one of the reasons why I hesitated to write this book.  My story is kind of sensational in a way, I mean this big event and three people are killed in this drunken driving accident. Everybody sort of gasps and I became almost an instant celebrity in Spokane overnight and I didn’t like that.  And the reason why I didn’t like that was because I was so profoundly aware of other kinds of losses that were as severe  as mine, just different, and maybe not visible and maybe not as prone to receive sympathy from other people.  Let me give you an example, some guy came up to me a couple of years after the accident and said I’ve resented you for two years.  And I said, “why, I hardly know you”, and he said, “your tragedy turned you into a hero, my tragedy has only brought more pain.  My wife left me for another woman,” he said, “and I’ve had to deal with catastrophic consequences, but I’m nobody’s hero.”   That was very sobering for me to hear, it wasn’t very nice for him to say, but it was very sobering for me to hear, recognizing that there are lots of losses that do not receive very much public attention.   If they do, it’s not with sympathy.  I hesitated to write the book and when I decided to write it, I inserted Chapter Two:  Whose Loss is Worse, just to protect myself from being made some kind of false celebrity because of my loss.  There are lots of ways to suffer, lots of ways to experience pain, and mine is only one.  And there are lots of things I don’t know, I don’t know what it means to experience, let’s say the long term effects of terminal illness or injuries from which a person cannot recover.   Bob:  You know, it was interesting, Barbara, to hear you reflect back on what had an impact on you as you read Jerry’s book.  I asked Maryann last night, the same question.  I said what was most impactful as you read the book, and she said probably the chapter on forgiveness.   I thought it’s interesting, I don’t know that we make a connection between grief and loss and forgiveness, but you see those as being intimately tied together, don’t you? Jerry:  I do, and I titled that chapter:  Forgive and Remember, instead of forgive and forget.  I don’t think it’s possible and I don’t think it’s healthy to forget anything.  But I think forgiveness can change the way we remember things.   Especially when we’ve had pain inflicted to us, spouses betrayed us, somebody’s done some violent act, say raped us or something like that, or someone has embezzled money and that destroyed our business.  There are lots of ways we suffer loss when the results are catastrophic and somebody willed to do harm to us, directly or indirectly. Bob:  In your case, it was a drunk driver who swerved across the road, right? Jerry:  And smashed into us.  Now he didn’t intend to do that, his harm was not malicious in the sense that he was out to kill three members of my family.  But his irresponsible decisions did lead to that and required me to forgive. Bob:  What did you have to go through to get to forgiveness? Jerry:  I think there were two phases to it; the more immediate and obvious one was the trial when the drunken driver was acquitted on a technicality and he walked away.  That only added kind of a bitter cast to an already difficult journey in forgiving somebody who had had such a significant impact on my life.  I learned in the process that forgiveness is not a singular act, it’s a process you go through.  And I think the most significant decision we make, is to say, we want to forgive.  Not that we forgive at the time, but we want to go through the process where forgiveness begins to take place.  And we get to the point where we can wish the person well and pray for them. Bob:  You have heard some amazing, well; you’ve gotten some amazing feedback to the book.  Letters, you were saying earlier, not a week goes by that you don’t hear from someone who God has used your story and your book profoundly in their lives.   Jerry:  Yes, but it’s a strange thing, there’s a kind of an otherness to this book.  I actually brought it with me.  I’ve reread it once since I wrote it and that was when the new edition came out about five years ago, about the only time I ever cracked it.   I skimmed it a little bit yesterday and it was a strange experience, because it’s almost as if I didn’t write it, it has a quality of otherness to it.   As if it’s not quite mine, I think the closest it would come would be the way that parents feel about their children.  Is that those children are so much a part of you but when you look at them and get to know them you realize they’re so other than you, too.  And that’s how I feel about this book.  Dennis:  You did tell a story before we came in the studio of a letter you have received from a woman who had a brother who was murdered.   Jerry:  And this was after 28 years.  And through those 28 years of suffering she described it as being very harsh, very hard.  She feels like she lost her mother permanently in the wake of her brother’s murder and this sort of thing.   She decided that she needed to forgive the murderer of her brother, so she did research, found out where he was in the prison system and asked if she could have permission to visit him.  He sort of coldly gave her permission, and so she went to see him and God gave her two words, on the ride to see him, and these are very powerful to me. The first is, you’re never beyond the reach of the grace of God, and the second is you can always become the man God wants you to be, even if you’re in prison.  And she met this man, forgave him, he broke down and sobbed, came to know the Lord and their relationship continues to this day.   That’s a powerful example of forgiveness, but it’s a little troubling to me too, because it doesn’t always happen quite that easily.  Sometimes it is a process.  It’s a journey and you have to go through phases of forgiveness to get to the point where you can really wish the person well and trust them to the good hand of God and pray for them Dennis:  Your story and just what you said reminds me of Romans 12: 18, and these are powerful in my life because there’s a person I’ve had to forgive, more than one obviously over my lifetime, but one where this is very real to me.  “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.”   It’s interesting, Jerry, as I have very imperfectly attempted to be obedient to that passage and have prayed for not only to be able to forgive and to be at peace.  As I thought about the wrath of God I’ve prayed for that person to be delivered from the wrath of God, because I know what that means.  It potentially could mean an eternity separated from God.   Jerry:  Oh, what a terrible burden a person has to bear for wrongdoing.   I would always choose to be the victim of wrongdoing, than to be the perpetrator of wrongdoing.   Early on that came to me, by the way, is I thought about what it would mean for me to change positions.  And I didn’t want that at all.  You know, ironically, we like to claim justice.  We really want, we think we want to live in a fair world, but I’m not sure we want the world to be fair.  On the one hand maybe some bad things wouldn’t happen to us that have happened to us over the years.   But grace isn’t fair either and I’d rather live in a world that is unfair, knowing that I am going to take some hits along the way, as I have, and will continue to experience if I know that grace is available to me too, because  the unfairest thing in the world is grace.   I think about our Lord who had to wear a crown of thorns, the only one in all of human history who was not deserving of that crown of thorns, so that we could wear a crown of honor.  Dennis:  Hmm, what a picture Jerry:  There is no fairness in that at all. Dennis:  And the reality of that is that it all occurred through suffering.  Jerry:  It all occurred through suffering.  In fact, that is the answer to the problem of evil.  This is where the Christian answer to evil is so paradoxical and so glorious and beautiful.   The Bible’s answer to suffering, is suffering, the suffering of God in human flesh.  God chooses out of his pure love for fallen humanity, to actually enter into the world.  And instead of entering it with a glorious birth, announced and heralded by sounding trumpets, he was born into a pathetic stable.  He grows up in obscurity.  He is a carpenter’s son, he never gets a first rate education.  He didn’t really get an education at all, except in the synagogue. He has a three year ministry, and then he suffers death on a cross.  We are talking about God doing this.  This is the Bible’s answer to suffering, God’s suffering and then the triumph in the resurrection. Dennis:  The apostle Peter says this about that suffering of Christ, “Beloved do not be surprised at the fiery trial which comes upon you  to test you as though something strange were happening, but rejoice, in so far as you share in Christ’s sufferings, that you may be able to rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” Jerry:  And Paul writes, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  This is one of the strange things that’s occurred in our own experience, is a rejoicing in the experience. Not because we’re glad it happened, we’ll never be that, bad is always bad, but because of what’s come as a result. Bob:  You are talking about what is come in your own life, your own experience of God’s grace in the midst of all of this.  But also, what has come through you in the book that you have written, A Grace Disguised:  How the Soul Grows through Loss.  God has used powerfully in the lives of folks sitting around this table and tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of folks who have read the book.  And God’s used it in a great way to minister to them in their own sense of grief and loss.  Jerry:  But I will say, that no book, however, well read or however life-changing will ever justify, explain or excuse the pain that was visited upon us.  These are separate things altogether.  I don’t like it when people sort of explain something because of the good outcome.  Joseph really gave us the right formula here, you meant it for evil, God worked it out for good, but the evil was still evil. Bob:  Yes, that’s right and we don’t want to do anything to try to minimize the reality of that, but in the comfort you’ve received from God you have been able to be faithful to do what 2 Corinthians 1 says, to comfort others with the comfort you’ve received.  And you do that through your book and we want to encourage listeners who are in the midst of a season of suffering or a season of loss to get a copy of the book, A Grace Disguised: How a Soul Grows Through Loss.  You can find out more about it online at FamilyLifeToday.com.   While you are on our web site you will also see information about Barbara Rainey’s new book written with your daughter Rebecca Mutz.  It tells the story of the life, the short life, of your granddaughter Molly, who was born a year ago at this time and lived for seven days.   The book is called A Symphony in the Dark:  Hearing God’s Voice in Seasons of Grief, and we do have copies of that book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center as well.  You can get more information about it online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call toll free, 1-800 FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329.  Someone on our team will let you know how you can get either or both of these books sent to you.   We also want to be quick today to say thank you so much to those of you who help underwrite the syndication and production costs of this program, to make it possible for the program to be heard on this station and on our network of stations all across the country.  Our listeners and especially those of you who can help support this program financially, you make it possible for this program to continue and we appreciate you so much.   This month if you are able to make a donation of any amount to help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we’d like to say thank you by sending you a CD that features a conversation  we had not long ago with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, the author and the speaker on the daily radio program Revive our Hearts.   Nancy has written a book called Choosing Forgiveness and we wanted to explore what the Bible teaches about the subject of forgiveness with her.  That conversation is available as our way of saying thank you this month when you do make a donation to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today.   If your donation is online, you’ll see a key code box on the donation form as you fill it out online.  Type the word “forgive” in the box and we’ll send you the CD, or if you call 1-800-FLTODAY you can make your donation by phone and just mention that you would like the CD and we are happy to send it to you.  And again we appreciate you so much for partnering with us, here at the ministry of FamilyLife Today.   Tomorrow we are going to talk with a young woman who lives in NYC, about a different kind of loss than we have talked about already this week.   We are going to talk about being young and single, and wishing you were married, and dealing with the sense of loss that comes with that.  Carolyn Leutwiler is going to join us tomorrow, hope you can be back with us as well.   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 tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today. FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock Arkansas Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow. © 2009 FamilyLife   We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you.  However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?   Copyright © FamilyLife.  All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 1) - Bill Bright
Jan 6 2020
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 1) - Bill Bright
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 1) - Bill BrightA Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 2) - Bill BrightA Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 3) - Bill BrightFamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Lessons LearnedDay 1 of 3 Guest:                    Bill Bright From the series:   Reflections of Life:  A Personal Visit With Bill Bright  Bob:                Throughout his life and his ministry, Dr. Bill Bright has had a single focus – The Great Commission – that Christ would send us into all the world to preach the Gospel to all men.  Here is Dr. Bill Bright. Bill:                  The average Christian does not realize that his loved ones, neighbors, and friends, are going to hell.  Now you say – would a loving God send people to hell?  No – God has put a cross at the entrance of hell, and the only way anybody can go to hell is to reject God's love and God's forgiveness. Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, February 19th.  Our host is the Executive Director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Today we talk with the man who has made The Great Commission his life's objective, Dr. Bill Bright.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition.  It was not long ago that you and I had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with a Christian leader and, frankly, two years ago if you had said we would have had that opportunity in the fall of 2002, I would have said it won't happen, because the Christian leader, in this particular case, Dr. Bill Bright – well, everyone thought that he would not live much longer. Dennis:          Right, and there were a number of us who wrote Bill letters, tributes; we made phone calls.  I still remember a great conversation I had with him that I thought would be my last, and he asked me to speak at an event, and I thought, "You rascal, you've done it again.  You've gotten one more thing out of me.  You're not even going to be here then," but Bill Bright is a great man.  His life is not over.  He is showing us how to finish strong, all the way to the end. He only has about 40 percent of his lung capacity due to the disease that he has, but he's writing books, he's doing interviews, he's taking a limited number of speaking engagements and, Bob, I came to you a few months ago, and I said, "It's time we went to Orlando and sat in Bill Bright's living room and talked with him again.  He's now lived for a couple of years longer than either you or I thought he would.  Let's go find out what he's learned." Bob:                And that conversation that we had in his living room in Orlando was just a relaxed conversation where we peppered him on a variety of subjects, but it was so refreshing. Dennis:          Yeah, and it was really a sweet time.  For those who don't know who Bill Bright is, and there are some who perhaps don't – Bill is the founder and past president of Campus Crusade for Christ.  He is the author of the "Four Spiritual Laws", which has – I suppose there are billions of "Four Spiritual Laws" that have been reproduced around the world – people sharing their faith.  Bill has been used mightily by God to touch the world, to touch nations, but he also was used mightily in my own life and yours, too, Bob, and I think by the time our listeners listen to this interview, along with the next couple of days, Bill Bright will touch you deeply as well.  Let's listen to Dr. Bill Bright. Bob:                You've talked about being on your way to the grave.  You know, there are some who are surprised that we're even having this conversation today, because there was a time just a few years ago I remember hearing you and Brant Gustafson together talking about being ready for heaven and, of course, Brant is there, you're here.  How have you processed all of that over the last several years? Bill:                  Well, just before Easter a year ago, I came home from California to die.  I said to Vonette that I was choking and fainting and all the first signs of what they told me what happened at Mayo's and the Jewish Institute in Denver and my local doctor –"What you have is horrible."  He tried to get my attention, and when I received word I was dying, I said, "Praise the Lord," because, you know, you can't lose with a believer.  It's win-win.  If you die, you go to heaven; if you stay here, you keep on serving Him.  So I had begun to praise the Lord.  He thought I'd lost my sanity, and he said – then he really began to rebuke me – he said, "You have a horrible disease.  You're going to die the most horrible kind of death" – he's a heart specialist and been my doctor for 30 years – and he felt he could tell me that.  Most doctors wouldn't.  And he said, "It's worse than cancer, it's worse than heart trouble, you're just going to choke to death."                         And so I was choking, and I came home to die.  So when I got off the plane, a couple – Jack and Pearl Galpin [sp] had befriended this Russian doctor, and they insisted that she come and examine me.  Now, here's a Ph.D, a research scientist, seven years in charge at Chernobyl, and she had no place to live except the home of the Galpins, who befriended her.  So she came to live in our home, treated me three times a day, and by the end of the 30 days, I began to have new life, and I’m awed at how good I feel. Dennis:          You know, there's a story I want to just tell real quickly, because I want our listeners to know this – there's a real sense in which God used a Russian doctor in your life to keep you alive, and that really can be, I think, tied back to something you did years ago with your retirement savings.  You actually – you and Vonette – actually gave away your retirement to start an outreach in Moscow when the Iron Curtain dropped.  You gave away your retirement, and now here, at the end of your life, what does God use to bless you back, but a Russian whose country had benefited from your sacrificial act of giving, and I think, you know, that's the kind of thing that God in heaven, I think, must have a big grin about.                         He goes, "Bill Bright, you are a termite," you know, "Dennis Rainey, you are, too, but I'm going to show you what I want to do." Bill:                  Oh, He's awesome. Dennis:          I'm going to use somebody from that country to bless you. Bill:                  You know, it's interesting – Vonette and I were led by the Lord to give my retirement pension to build a New Life Training Center at Moscow State University, and one day I'm sitting in the tent 15 years later, recuperating and enjoying the Lord as we're chatting together, and it is as though the Lord said to me in a way that – no question about it – "I sent Dr. Ivanova to help you because you made the widow's mite investment in Moscow State University."                          Now, I began to sob.  I was overcome, because, frankly, there was no question what he was saying to me – that he was pleased by that.  I didn't do it for credit, I didn't make a big issue of it, and I wouldn't have brought it up if you hadn't, but you cannot outgive God, and though, as a movement, we had spent tens of millions of dollars sending Jesus films and Bibles and holding teacher convocations all over Russia and the other republics, but the Lord didn't seem to refer to that.  He referred to what I did first, and that was awesome. Dennis:          You undoubtedly have envisioned where you're going. Bill:                  Oh, heaven is awesome.   Dennis:          To your best extent – obviously, you've never been there – but you've read about it, you know the One Who resides there, you've been walking with the One Who resides there – share what you expect? Bill:                  Eyes not seen, ears not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him.  Heaven is going to be indescribably beautiful – it's not going to be, it is – and I remember as a lad, my precious, saintly mother would often say, "I can hardly wait to go to heaven."  Now, she loved her husband, my father.  She loved seven children.  She was the pillar of the community.  If anybody needed any help, they would always come to my mother.  She was truly a saint.  But I didn't understand what she was saying until I became a believer and now I look forward, with her, with great anticipation, to heaven.  Everything we experience here on earth – all the most elegant and opulent kinds of experiences – cannot compare with what awaits those who believe.                           Here's my logic – the God who spoke – and astronomers say at least 100 billion, 200 billion galaxies were flowing into space, and He holds it all together with the word of His command.  The same God became a man – the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, died on the cross for our sins, was raised from the dead, and now lives within us, and He said, "I'm going to go to prepare a place for you, and then I'll come back and get you."                         Now, this God who created all this unbelievably beautiful, wonderful universe, you know is going to do a special creative job in preparing heaven.  Heaven is going to be the golden, golden gem of the universe, and whatever our minds can conceive of will fall infinitely short of what heaven is like. Bob:                Were you disappointed when you started getting better? Bill:                  Well, I must tell you, I was excited about going to heaven.  You know, when you heard the interview with Brant Gustafson and myself, we were on a race.  We both were looking forward to going, and we weren't sure – we were saying, "I'll beat you there." Dennis:          Yeah, well, he beat you, didn't he? Bill:                  Yeah, he did – and dear, dear Brant – he was a marvelous, wonderful friend … Dennis:          … yeah, I love him, too. Bill:                  A beloved brother – but here I am doing, in a sense, the most creative thing I've ever done.  In the last 18 months I've put almost 100 hours of the best of my 100 books and booklets on blue screen technology – video – where I can use it for interactive training of millions of people through the years long after I'm with the Lord, and Andrew Murray has been dead 150 years, is still influencing millions of Christians.  Oswald Chambers has been dead over 100 years, is still influencing even the President of the United States.  So here we are, I'm building up a library of books and videos, and I've been able to do that more since I learned I'm dying than any other period in my life.  And then God led a man by the name of James Davis and me to start, as a part of the Crusade ministry, Global Pastures Network, where our goal is to help start 5 million house churches in the next 10 years, and we're working with all major denominations.  We're working with scores of para-church groups, and it's not just a Campus Crusade for Christ project, though it's directed by Crusade under the leadership of Dr. Steve Douglas, but it's a partnership where the leaders of Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God, Presbyterians, and Methodists and many other groups – over 70 denominations and scores of para-church groups are involved. So when I look back over what's happened in the last 18 months, I would have to say I'm glad the Lord let me stay here, and I don't want to stay one second longer than He wants me here. Dennis:          You haven't retired? Bill:                  (laughs) No – I've re-fired. Dennis:          You have re-fired.  What are your dreams if the Lord gives you another 18 months? Bill:                  Well, I would just want to see everything I'm now doing increased, expanded, developed.  But there's one very important thing that is really on my heart in addition to the others, and that is to call America back to the Bible and back to the God of the Bible.  I mentioned that Brad, our son, has written this book, "God is the Issue."  I've written a book on the attributes of God, " God Discovers Character," and "The Year of the Bible.  So we're working on a strategy to take those three – "God is the Issue," "The Year of the Bible," and "God Discovers Character," and do an evangelistic thrust in every community of America, and I can't think of any better way to announce it than your radio program, because, you see, if we get back to the God of the Bible, revival comes.                          And, you know I've fasted and prayed 40 days each year for the last nine years for revival for America, the world, and The Great Commission to be fulfilled.  So I am believing that God is going to raise up the kind of leaders that are necessary in every community of America to make this happen.   Dennis:          Bill, you described heaven as a place you long to go for.  Your face lit up.  I want you to do something you may have never been asked to do – how would you describe hell? Bill:                  Oh, oh, oh – I've just written a book, "Heaven or Hell:  The Ultimate Choice," and hell is an awesome, horrible, indescribably cruel, terrible place, and the average Christian does not realize that his loved ones, neighbors, and friends, are going to hell, and because he doesn't realize there is a hell that is so horrible there are no human words to describe it – this agony for all eternity.  Now you say "Would a loving God send people to hell?"  No.  God has put a cross at the entrance of hell, and the only way anybody can go to hell is to reject God's love and God's forgiveness.  Christ died for all people – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, everybody – and He's not willing that any should perish.                         Peter writes, "God has delayed His return in order that more people might have a chance to receive Christ."  So God is not being unfair, but He is a just God, He's a holy God, a righteous God, and if we insist on violating His laws and disobeying Him, we are choosing to follow the kingdom of darkness – Satan – and I'm sobered by this.  Hell is a terrible place.  Heaven is an incredibly beautiful place, and as we read in Colossians 1:13 and 14, God has liberated us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan's kingdom and brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son Who bought our freedom with His blood and forgave us all our sins.                         To everyone who is listening to me, take serious what I'm saying and what Dennis and Bob are saying – there are only two kingdoms in this world – Christ's kingdom and Satan's kingdom – and you and your loved ones are a member of either one of those, and you can't be a member of them both, and if you are playing footsies with the ways of the world and being enamored with the things of the world, you are being deceived by the enemy of your soul.  God prepared hell for Satan and his angels, not for you and me.  But if we insist on following Satan, we will go to hell where he is.  I just want to stand on the street corners and say, "Stop, stop, listen to me, you're on your way to heaven or hell, and there aren't any alternatives.  You're a member of one of two kingdoms – there aren't any other kingdoms," and we need to proclaim that. Dennis:          And to that person, Bill, right now, who is listening, who is going, "I don't want to go there.  I don't want to go to a place of spiritual torment, of emotional grief and of judgment.  I want out of that kingdom.  I want to make sure I'm in God's kingdom – a place of peace, a place of beauty, a place of knowing God, seeing Him, and experiencing His love face-to-face."  What should that person do right now? Bill:                  I'd like to ask everyone who has that desire to pray with me.  I'd like to lead them in prayer. Dennis:          That's good. Bill:                  Just, phrase-by-phrase, you quote after me.  Now, Jesus promised us – before we pray – "If you hear My voice and open the door, I'll come in."  If He is speaking to you through this program or any other program, don't you hesitate for a moment.  You may never have another opportunity like this, because God's grace does not always continue.  There's a time when He says, "I will withdraw My blessing from you."  Now, I ask you, if you really want Jesus in your heart, pray this prayer with me, phrase-by-phrase.  Pray it aloud if you're in a position where you can do so – if not, silently – "Lord Jesus, I know You're the Son of God, I know You died on the cross for my sins.  Come into my life, forgive my sins, change my life, make me the kind of person You want me to be." God bless you.  Don't miss out on His plan for you.  He loves you.  He died for you.  He reaches out to embrace you.  Now don't turn Him away.  Follow Him to your last breath, and He will never fail you.  God bless you. Bob:                That, of course, is Dr. Bill Bright, who has shared those sentiments over the last 50 years over and over and over again – calling men and women to faith in Christ and then to service to their Master throughout their lifetime. Dennis:          That's right, and I have to turn to the audience right now and say to that woman who is listening, that man – if you do not know where you will spend eternity after hearing an 81-year-old man who is nearing the end of his life, give you an eternal perspective that there are two kingdoms – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness, of the devil, wouldn't you like to be sure you are headed toward the kingdom of God? It's a gift.  It's a gift that comes from God by His grace if we will yet receive it by faith in Him and His Word and basically Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins.  We must receive Him.  We must trust Him.  We must ask Him to be our Savior, our Master, our Lord, and I would just challenge you, right now – if you've not made that discovery, if you do not know the Creator of the Universe and are not walking with Him, there is no better time than right now. Put aside excuses, lay aside that obstacle, that burden, that person in the church that has kept you from receiving Christ and come right now.  Just come to Him and kneel and ask Him – Lord Jesus be merciful to me, a sinner.  Come into my life, forgive my sins, be my Master, my Lord, and begin to make me who You created me to be.  Pray that prayer right now in faith, and I just want to remind you, it's not the words of your mouth, but it is the attitude of your heart of coming to God that I believe establishes a relationship with the Almighty God. Bob:                If you want to know about that relationship with God and want to know what it means to be in a right relationship with God, call us and ask about a book we'd like to send you called "Right With God."  It's a book that will explain to you how a man is made right with God and what it means to be a follower of Christ.  Ask for a copy of that book.  We'll send it at no cost to anyone who prayed along with Dennis, anyone who wants to give his life to Christ today.  Call 1-800-FLTODAY and ask about the book, "Right With God."                         Let me also mention that we have our entire visit with Dr. Bill Bright available on audiocassette or CD.  If you'd like to hear the entire conversation with Dr. Bright – we've had to edit it here for broadcast purposes – but you can hear the unedited dialog on cassette or on CD, and in our conversation with Dr. Bright, we had the opportunity to ask him about the books that he has written, and he said that his favorite of all of those books was a book called, "God: Discover His Character," a book about the attributes of our great God, and we have that book available as well.  If you would like to deepen your understanding and your knowledge of who God is, and I'll tell you, all of us can benefit from that exercise, get a copy of Dr. Bright's book.  Again, it's called "God:  Discover His Character," and you can ask for a copy when you call 1-800-FLTODAY or you can request a copy online at FamilyLife.com.                         We always enjoy hearing from our listeners, Dennis.  We just recently heard from a number of our Legacy Partners, many of them writing to request prayer on a variety of subjects, and we do pray for you when you contact us and let us know what your needs are, and we appreciate those of you who are able to help with our financial needs as a ministry, either as a Legacy Partner or as a FamilyLife Champion.  If you would like to make a contribution to FamilyLife or if you'd like to contact us so that we can be praying for you, you can write to FamilyLife at Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas.  The zip code is 72221.  Once again, write to FamilyLife Today at Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas.  The zip code is 72221.  You can also donate online at FamilyLife.com or you can call to make a donation at 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.                         Well, tomorrow we're going to continue to hear excerpts from our recent dialogue with Dr. Bill Bright, the past president and founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.  I hope you can be back with us for that.                         I want to thank our engineer today, Robbie Neal, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.                          FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.   We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you.  However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs? Copyright © FamilyLife.  All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 2) - Bill Bright
Jan 6 2020
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 2) - Bill Bright
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 1) - Bill BrightA Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 2) - Bill BrightA Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 3) - Bill BrightFamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Finish the RaceDay 2 of 3 Guest:                    Bill Bright From the series:   Reflections of Life:  A Personal Visit With Bill Bright  Bob:                There is a problem within the church today.  According to Dr. Bill Bright, there are a lot of people who say they love God when many of them don't really know Him. Bill:                  The average person has a superficial view of God, and you can't love someone you don't know, you can't trust someone you don't know, you can't obey someone you don't know.  So the most important thing is to find out who God is, discover His character, and just love, trust, and obey Him. Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, February 20th.  Our host is the Executive Director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Today – a conversation with a man who has spent his life introducing people to their Creator.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition.  You've been asked a number of times by people that question – if you could have dinner with any four people, living or dead, who would you invite to your dinner party and probably stopped and considered that question and thought about the Apostle Paul or about King David or whoever you might choose to be at your dinner party.                         I would imagine that there would be many listeners who, when asked that question, would have on their list, the opportunity to invite Bill and Vonette Bright to that dinner party and just to be able to interact with them about a life of faithfulness to Christ that God has honored in a remarkable way. Dennis:          You know, when I was a young man starting out right after college, I had no idea how Bill Bright's life would impact mine initially, from a distance.  But here in the last dozen or so years, I've had the opportunity to have many, many meals with Bill, to have personal time with him, and you and I had the opportunity to fly down to Orlando and sit in their living room and just have a sweet chat with an 81-year-old man who is suffering from a very serious illness … Bob:                … he's got a pulmonary fibrosis … Dennis:          … right – that has taken away 60 percent of his lungs' capacity, and, Bob, you and I both left those interviews, which we started on yesterday's broadcast, and if you missed it, I would encourage you to call and get the tapes and get the entire interview, because it's a great reminder from a man who has lived his life well, about what is really important.  And one of the things I wanted to ask him about and interview him about was the subject of money, because there's a lot of great stories about how Bill Bright personally has approached money and his own personal wealth, which he doesn't have a lot of personal wealth. Bob:                In spite of the fact that he has written a number of books and at one point was handed a check for $1 million. Dennis:          Right, he won the Templeton Award and gave that money immediately and invested it in Campus Crusade for Christ for the purpose of prayer and fasting. Bob:                In fact, I think he talks about that in the section of the interview we're going to hear today, because you did quiz him about the issue of wealth and how we handle our money and, in fact, that's where we'll pick things up today.  This is Part 2 of an interview done recently with the former president and founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, Dr. Bill Bright. Dennis:          You have rubbed shoulders with people who have had enormous wealth in your 81 years of life.  You've been a part of seeing people invest literally tens of millions, hundreds of millions, billions of dollars in the kingdom work.  What advice would you have for the man, the couple, who really want to use their lives and their wealth for the glory of God? Bill:                  Well, first of all, wealth is a gift of God.  It all belongs to Him.  At best, we are stewards.  There is no one who could say, "Look, I've accumulated this vast fortune.  I did it with my own ability."  Everything is a gift, even the breath which we breathe, and I'm on oxygen 24 hours a day, so I appreciate breath as a gift of God.                           But anyone who thinks that they are responsible for their vast wealth is not thinking logically.  There are many, many factors that contribute to vast wealth, and so I say to men and women of wealth – live a good life.  Enjoy yourself, but you should not be extravagant and don't destroy your grandchildren by leaving them large sums of money.  Take care of sending them to college or whatever they may need but be sure you do not spoil your children and your grandchildren and future heirs by leaving a trust that will cause them to be lethargic, complacent, and never develop the skills which you've developed because you had to.                         Remember, it's all God's money, and you're going to be held accountable in a very real way when you get to heaven, if you make it, and if your money and your wealth and your material possessions are your god, you won't make it.   Bob:                Have you seen people leave money to children or grandchildren and that lethargic complacency that you're talking about – have you seen those who were destroyed by … Bill:                  … absolutely, absolutely.  I think of a tragic situation – a couple came to me one day.  They had worked hard together.  They had built a fortune.  They had one daughter, and she married an atheist who hated God, and they said, "What are we going to do with that money?"  I said, "Whatever you do, don't leave it to your daughter and your grandchildren, because he will use it for purposes that are contrary to everything you stand for.  Give it away while you're alive.  Take care of them in a modest way but don't give that money to your atheistic son-in-law," who wouldn't even allow his children to go to Sunday school.                         Well, their love for their children overruled that, and they left it to the family, and you can imagine what happened to it.  It was a tragic situation.  They'll be held accountable for this.  It's well known that people who inherit large sums of money in their youth generally are not properly motivated to maximize their gifts.  So they drift through life, living a life of ease, and they literally become parasites on society.  And, as you know, in parts of the world where there is the class of the super-rich, they're usually very decadent.  That's not always true but all too often extreme wealth clouds the thinking of the recipients of that wealth – bigger homes, bigger cars, a greater opulence and extravagance instead of "Lord, this is all yours.  How can we use it to bring greater glory, greater honor, and greater praise to You." Bob:                Does it seem to you that sometimes those who don't have any spiritual convictions are more generous and more inclined to give?  I'm thinking of Ted Turner giving millions of dollars to the United Nations or Bill Gates setting up a foundation for vaccinations around the world.  I sometimes wonder if we ought to take a lesson from some of these folks. Bill:                  Well, one should never question another's motives – why they give – but there are many tax benefits, many considerations, and I pray that those who God, whether they believe it or not, God uniquely blessed.  I think back on my own career as a businessman.  I started my business with a modest capital, and because of the influence of two men who were kind of like fathers to me – they had no sons of their own – and they were among the leaders in the whole confection industry.  They helped promote my merchandise – Bright's Brandied and Epicurean Foods – whenever people came to their businesses, and they were two of the top men in the nation.  They would promote my merchandise, because they liked me, and they liked my merchandise.                         I wasn't a believer, but at least one of the men, I know, was a believer.  The other one, I'm not sure of, but they helped me tremendously.  So, as a kid, in my early 20s, I was experiencing phenomenal success, and yet I can't say I was smart, I was brilliant, I did this, I did that – God arranges all these things, and I was able to succeed in the measure I did because of many factors.                         So anyone who is wealthy would have to say, if he thinks clearly, "I had a lot of help from God working through people," and I look back on my own business career; I have to say God orchestrated all these many wonderful things preparing me for the day when I'd be born into His family, and He could show me a whole new way of life. Dennis:          Bill, you're still highly motivated, even at 81 years of age.  You're on oxygen 24 hours a day; your lungs are only working at about 40 percent of capacity – what gets you out of bed in the morning? Bill:                  Well, my love for Jesus.  You know, people ask me "What's the most important thing we could pray for you?"  And I always respond, "Pray that I will never leave my first love."  Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and, of course, love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemies.  So my love for Him and my desire to please Him, to obey Him, He is my Master, my Lord, and I can't think of any activity in which I could be engaged that is more important than pleasing Him. And, of course, I say all that, including my precious wife.  She is the joy and delight of my heart.  We've been married over 54 years and all I can do is thank God at what an incredible, wonderful, fantastic wife He has given me – and lover and partner and friend in Vonette, and I encourage every man out there who wants to live a fruitful, wonderful life, to love your wife as Christ loved the church, even if you do it for selfish reasons, and you can't really do it for selfish reasons, because loving your wife has to be supernatural with His enabling, but if you don't have a happy wife, you're not going to have a happy heart.  And you need to give attention to your dear, beloved, precious spouse, who is a gift of God until death do us part, and don't ever think of divorce as a way out.  You find someone as God has led you to be married, or if He should lead you in the future to be married, remember, obey the Word of God; love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it – and sacrificial living. Dennis:          Bill, Bob and I – and I’m taking our average age together here, because Bob's about to correct me out of this, but we're approximately 30 years behind you in the race. Bob:                I'm a little farther behind than Dennis.  I'd just like to make that clear. Dennis:          And it's not that I'm that much older, Bill, than he is … Bill:                  … maybe a couple of days. Dennis:          Yeah, a couple of days, a couple of days older than Bob – certainly not more mature, though.  But what advice would you have for a man who wants to finish well?  I mean, if God grants strength and favor, Bob and I will live another 30 years.  What exhortation would you give us, as men, and just to men in terms of how they run the race and end up at the finish line like you are, still sprinting at the end? Bill:                  Well, you remember, Paul writes to Timothy – chapter 4, verses 7 and 8 – "I've fought a good fight, I've finished the race, and I've been faithful."  I would say the number-one priority – love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that requires time in the Word.  You can't live a godly life unless you're taking God's Word in your daily moment by moment.  Communicate with God in prayer.  Prayer is like breathing.  We pray and talk to Him.  So love Him, trust Him, obey Him, and in order to all this, you have to know who He is. So if you have a superficial view of God, you need to begin to study the attributes of God.  That's the reason I wrote the book, "God:  Discover His Character," three or four years ago, because the average person has a superficial view of God, and you can't love someone you don't know; you can't trust someone you don't know; you can't obey someone you don't know.  So the most important thing is to find out who God is, discover his character, and just love, trust, and obey Him. Bob:                You see what Dennis has got in his hand there, don't you? Bill:                  I just happened to see that. Dennis:          I have a card that, Bill, you discovered the power of lamination before Bob did, but you laminated a card here that is entitled the name of your book, "God:  Discover the Benefits of His Attributes."  And on this card, on the front and back, are listed different attributes of God. Bill:                  Thirteen attributes. Dennis:          Thirteen attributes, and I'm not going to ask you to name all 13, although I'm confident you could do it. Bill:                  I memorized and meditate on them almost every day and night.  I wake up in the middle of the night and while I'm going back to sleep, I will run through different ones and just praise the Lord for who He is. Dennis:          Well, what I want you to do, and I was going to ask you this question, anyway, but you've taken me there – out of these 13 what three are the most meaningful? Bill:                  They're all important.  I can't … Dennis:          … I know they're all important, and I knew you were going to say that, but as you have meditated and have gotten to know God, and as He has revealed Himself to you, could you name three that are closest to you in your walk. Bill:                  I wouldn't say three are more important than the rest, but God is sovereign.  He rules in the affairs of men and nations.  He controls everything.  We think we're smart, and we're really dummies compared to Him.  After all, look at – study the human eyeball or the corpuscle, or anything about any of His creation, and you realize we're just dummies.  So He is sovereign.  He lifts up, and He puts down.  And then He is love. Dennis:          I'm going to stop you there, because I want to read what you wrote on the card – "Because God is sovereign, that's who He is, I will joyfully submit to His will." Bill:                  Yes. Dennis:          So it's more than just an intellectual realization that there is One who rules absolutely. Bill:                  I put the word "joyfully" in there especially, because it's not just kind of a duty.  God is sovereign, so I'm going to be – I'm just going to resign myself to the fact that He is in charge, and it's going to be a boring drudgery.  No, God is in charge, and it's a joyful journey to know that He's in charge.  If I didn't know He was in charge, now I'm breathing on oxygen for the last couple of years – I would probably be kind of anxious at times.  But God is in charge.  Nothing happened.  You know, you read Acts 4 – "Nothing happens to you and me that is not with His approval."  Satan has no power over us except that which God allows.  Everything is filtered through His love.                          You have cancer, you have a heart attack, you have a stroke, you have financial problems – what do you do about it?  Well, Paul writes, "Rejoice."  James writes, "Rejoice.  In all things give thanks."  Well, you know, one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned, which I learned maybe 40 years or so ago is that all things – give thanks.  Rejoice in adversity as well as blessings. Dennis:          And you can do that because you know there is One. Bill:                  I know there is a sovereign God.  He rules in the affairs, and when I say thank you, even through my tears I'm demonstrating faith, and the scripture says without faith it's impossible to please God.  That which is not of faith is sin.  The judged shall live by faith.  So I'm saying, when I praise God that I'm wearing this tube, breathing oxygen, I'm praising God out of a joyful heart not out of resignation, and then, of course, the love – God's love for me is unconditional.  Because God is love, he is unconditionally committed to my well-being and, you know, you could spend an hour talking about the love of God.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God, no matter how even we sin and grieve Him, His love reaches out to us.                         Which brings me to the third attribute, and I hate to leave out any of those 13, and, of course, there are many others – is mercy – because of His mercy.  If I confess my sins, He is always faithful and just to forgive me of my sins, because of His mercy. Dennis:          Right.  Bill, you mentioned your book, "God:  Discover the Benefits of His Attributes."  I've lost count of how many books you've written … Bill:                  … about a hundred … Dennis:          … you're writing them faster than I can read them.  It's over 100 books? Bill:                  Over 100 books and booklets. Dennis:          Okay. Bill:                  And thousands of articles. Dennis:          Bob gets onto me for asking these questions, but I'm going to ask you – do you have a favorite? Bill:                  I would say probably the best book I've ever written is "God:  Discover His Character," because it deals with the attributes of God, and you – you know, I've written on the Ten Commandment, living supernaturally in Christ … Dennis:          … you've written about the person of Jesus Christ … Bill:                  … the person of Jesus, prayer, on and on and on, but getting to know God, His marvelous attributes, you realize everything else falls into place. Bob:                Well, again, today we've been listening to Dr. Bill Bright, founder and past president of Campus Crusade for Christ rehearsing the attributes of God, which is a healthy exercise for all of us all the time, isn't it? Dennis:          It is, and if there's anything I've learned from Bill Bright is that we need to not only talk about God and what He's doing in our lives, but we need to know Him, and we need to continue to pursue Him to get to know Him and a part of that comes, Bob, as we understand the qualities that we use as human beings to describe little facets of God's character, and I do think, and I agree with Bill, this is the greatest book, this book on the character of God that Bill Bright wrote.  This is his greatest book he's ever written. Bob:                The book is called, "God:  Discover His Character," and we have it available in our FamilyLife Resource Center.  This is a book that is great for private devotions, it's a book that parents can use in family time with the children to help introduce the children to the greatness of our God.  If you'd like to get a copy, you can call 1-800-FLTODAY or you can request a copy online at FamilyLife.com.  Again, the title is "God:  Discover His Character," by Dr. Bill Bright.                         When you get in touch with us, you may also want to request either cassettes or CDs of our complete interview with Dr. Bill Bright.  We have only been able to feature portions of it here on FamilyLife Today, but if you'd like to hear the entire conversation, you can ask about those tapes or about CD copies of the interviews when you contact us again, at 1-800-FLTODAY or, if you'd like to, you can order online at FamilyLife.com.                         I was thinking about Dr. Bright's book, and I was thinking about our mission at FamilyLife to effectively develop godly families who change the world one home at a time.  If we're going to succeed in that mission of developing godly families, then we have to make sure that our families know the God we want to reflect in our own character and in our own lives, and FamilyLife is committed to that spiritual agenda. We want husbands and wives and moms and dads to be centered on the priority of God's Word in your marriage and in your family.  We are joined in that agenda by a whole lot of folks around the country who are FamilyLife Champions or Legacy Partners – in fact, some brand-new Legacy Partners who just joined with us here in the last few weeks, and it's nice to have you folks on board with us.  A Legacy Partner is somebody who, on a monthly basis, makes a contribution to our ministry. We often will hear from those Legacy Partners, Dennis, who write to us and ask us to pray for them.  In fact, I just saw that we've gotten a note from a 69-year-old grandmother in South Dakota who is raising two boys – she's raising a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old, and I don't know the circumstances that have her raising those young men, but she said, "Please pray for me.  I need strength and patience."  And we do take those requests for prayer seriously, and our team joins in praying for folks who write to us with those kinds of requests. If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Legacy Partner and joining with us financially or if you'd like to write to us with a prayer request, our mailing address is FamilyLife Today at Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas.  Our zip code is 72221.  Once again, it's FamilyLife Today at Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas, and our zip code is 72221.  You can also get in touch with us by calling 1-800-FLTODAY.  You can donate over the phone or you can make an online donation at our website at FamilyLife.com. Well, tomorrow we will hear the concluding portion of our conversation held recently with Dr. Bill Bright, the past president and founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.  I hope you can be back with us for that. I want to thank our engineer today, Robbie Neal, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today. FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.   We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you.  However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs? Copyright © FamilyLife.  All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 3) - Bill Bright
Jan 6 2020
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 3) - Bill Bright
A Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 1) - Bill BrightA Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 2) - Bill BrightA Visit With Bill Bright During His Last Days (Part 3) - Bill BrightFamilyLife Today® Radio TranscriptReferences to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Final ExhortationsDay 3 of 3 Guest:                    Bill Bright From the series:   Reflections of Life:  A Personal Visit With Bill Bright   Bob:                Dr. Bill Bright has a message for Christians today, and it's a simple, basic message. Bill:                  I would say to all believers – love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Seek first His kingdom, obey His commandments, trust His promises, and spend the rest of your life getting to know Him so you can love Him and trust Him and obey Him without any hesitancy. Bob:                This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, February 21st.  Our host is the Executive Director of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  Today a conversation with a man whose life is centered in The Great Commission and The Great Commandment.                         And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.  For the last couple of days we've been listening back to an interview that was conducted recently with the past president and founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, Dr. Bill Bright.  I don't know if you've ever wondered this – but have you ever asked yourself what would have happened to Bill Bright if he'd never been converted, if he'd never come to faith in Christ?  What do you think his life would have been, what would it have looked like? Dennis:          Well, he described himself a couple of days ago on FamilyLife Today as a happy pagan.  He was very successful in the candy business and had created a line of candies called "Bright's Confectionary Candies," I guess. Bob:                "Bright's Delights," wasn't it? Dennis:          Bright's Delights, that's right, that's right.  So maybe some major chocolate lines wouldn't be here because Bill Bright would be ruling in the candy world.  But he didn't do that, Bob.  He yielded and surrendered his life and signed over a title deed of his life, along with his wife Vonette, and for more than 50 years they not only have been married but also have been in surrendered service to Christ and have been used mightily by God. Bob:                I think one of the things that has stuck in my mind, as I've had the opportunity to meet and interact with Dr. Bright, has been his remarkable focus.  Most of us get distracted by all kinds of lesser things, but I don't think I've ever seen him in any environment at any time when he's been distracted by anything other than the Gospel.  It's always about life with Christ.  It's always about evangelism and discipleship and walking with Christ and getting to know the Savior.  I don't know if he's paid attention to anything mundane in the last 50 years. Dennis:          I think some of our listeners would probably be shocked at how little television, how few movies he's ever seen in his life.  I doubt if he reads much of the newspaper, but he saturates his mind and his heart and his life with the scriptures, and I've heard him say on a number of occasions, "I evaluate every day of my life as to how it will contribute to The Great Commission.                          Now, if you think about it, it makes sense that if Jesus Christ said "I have the greatest commission that has ever been given, that I want to give to you," wouldn't it be wise for us to evaluate our lives and how they are contributing to fulfilling what Jesus called the greatest commission – to go to the world and proclaim the Gospel. Bob:                Well, let me take our listeners with us to Bill Bright's living room at his condominium in Orlando, Florida, where we had the opportunity to enjoy a casual conversation about some deeply profound subjects.  Here's Dr. Bill Bright: Dennis:          By all measures of this world, you have lived, not a storybook life, but certainly a successful life.  You undoubtedly have a definition of what a successful life looks like.  Would you mind sharing that? Bill:                  Successful Christian life, and that's summum bonum – that's more important than any other – is the crucified life.  Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 – "I am crucified with Christ.  Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live with the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."  So the success of the Christian life belongs to those who know the reality of being crucified with Christ. Dennis:          Putting to death the flesh. Bill:                  Putting death to flesh – and out of that relationship, where Christ is all – He is Lord, He is Master, He is Savior, He is King – comes joy and rejoicing and full of glory.  So that's success – being dead to self and alive to Christ. Dennis:          As a man, as a husband, and as a father – do you have any regrets? Bill:                  I shared one with you – my failure to witness to Coach Red Sanders. Dennis:          The coach at UCLA back in the early 1950s? Bill:                  Yes.  That was an experience I've lived with all these years, because I disobeyed God. Dennis:          Any others? Bill:                  I, obviously, am far from a perfect husband or father or anything, but I don't have any regrets.  I look back on a life that's been rich and full, even the defeats, even the times of heartache and sorrow, God has used for His glory.  It's like Joseph said of his imprisonment and his problems as a result of being sold into slavery by his brothers – "What you intended for evil, God used for good."  And I've found that even in my mistakes, if my spirit is right, my heart is pure, my motives are pure, God turns my mistakes to blessings. Dennis:          Looking back over your life, you've done a lot of courageous things.  Obviously, God at work in you, but what would you say, looking back over 81 years, was the most courageous act you've ever performed? Bill:                  Well, there are many thoughts that come to mind – surrendering everything, where we signed a contract to be slaves of Jesus, putting everything in His hands – all that we owned or ever would own – that was simply an act of obedience, so I don't think it was that courageous, because I was doing what He told me to do.                           Moving to UCLA to start the ministry – I was the only one on staff, thought I was teaching school, and she joined me the second year.  I think, for example, when God led us to start Expo 72.  We'd never done anything like this and a good percentage of the staff leaders objected and some resigned.  Another time, when 13 men marched into my office, men who were like my sons whom I love to this day, every one of them, and God never allowed me to resent them, but they came into my office and demanded I resign.  They were taking over the movement.  To this day, when I have met them on different occasions, I give them a big hug and mean it.  I say, "I love you," and mean it.  That was something that God used to be a blessing.  Incidentally, six of those men left.  They were going to take the whole movement, and 750 people joined the staff that summer, and it was like God pruned so He could give fruit. Dennis:          Bill, you've been close to death because of your lung disease.  Have you ever been afraid to die? Bill:                  No. Dennis:          There's never been the fear of dying? Bill:                  As a matter of fact, God has graciously given me the joy of dying.  You know, face it, you can't lose when you go to be with the Lord.  But Vonette and I were on this airplane out of New York flying to Washington one evening some years ago, and it rained all afternoon.  The flight was delayed and delayed and delayed and finally the pilots apparently just took it in their hands and said, "We're going to fly."  So within minutes after we got in the air, we were in the middle of a firestorm.  I mean, a ball of fire and a tornado type wind, and the plane was like a leaf in the wind – it was awesome.  The wings were just going up and down like a bird, and we knew we couldn't possibly survive. So Vonette and I sat there in the plane, held hands, and prayed and said goodbye and thanked the Lord that we would soon be with Him, and it was very somber and yet – I can't say it was joyful because, frankly, it was frightening.  The plane was just about to come apart, from our perspective.  And we flew and flew and flew and just kept flying and Washington isn't that far away.  By this time, it was night, and finally we landed in a little out-of-the-way airport and discovered that the lightning had struck a hole in the fuselage.  I'd never heard of that before.  It knocked out all the navigational instruments and the pilot was flying blind. When we got off the plane, he was as white as a sheet, and he said, "In all my millions of miles, I've never had an experience like this."  Well, I didn't know it, how serious it was – oh, I knew it was serious – but when I got to Washington, D.C., the next morning we rode the bus from that place to the airport, and I got to the desk, and the girl said, "Oh, you were on that plane that was struck by lightning, and the plane has a big hole in it."  I didn't know that, of course.  I'd never heard of that happening. So then I was in Ghana – I had a summer experience where, in those days, most national airlines were not safe.  The flight was delayed again and again and again.  Finally, after some hours, we took off.  In the meantime, I'd gone around witnessing different people – nobody seemed to be interested, and so just as we were off the pad, just barely, there was this big explosion.  So I thought a tire blew out, but we came to a screeching halt and got off, and the motor had blown up, and had we been in the air, we'd be dead. Dennis:          Unbelievable. Bill:                  So I've had a few of these … Bob:                … but it's not the fear of death – we're never sure how we're going to get there, whether it's going to be a bumpy ride, whether we're going to wind up with a disease that takes us, but all of us are headed to the same place. Bill:                  Death is universal, we're all going to die.  That's the reason it's so important to know where we're going while we're still alive. Dennis:          Bill, someday the news will go out around the world, because it will be an international news event of your home-going, and when that happens, we want to honor Christ for what He did in your life, and I’m most certain that will happen through your memorial service and all that occurs after your home-going.  But I'm wondering what you would want the world to know – your final exhortation – because we're going to play a tape of a broadcast like this with you that Bob and I have done and have some of your words on it.  What would be your final exhortation to the world? Bill:                  I would say to all believers – love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Seek first His kingdom, obey His commandments, trust His promises, and spend the rest of your life getting to know Him so you can love Him and trust Him and obey Him without any hesitancy.  Vonette and I have talked about this and concluded:  My own desire was to die as I've tried to live – Galatians 2:20 – Bill Bright is crucified with Christ.  And I asked her if she would bury me in an unmarked grave as a testimony of Galatians 2:20, because dead people are dead. She didn't think it was a good idea.  So we agreed that we would have on our tombstone – "Bill and Vonette Bright, slaves of Jesus" – Philippians 2:7, Jesus was a slave.  God the Creator came to earth disguised as a slave.  And Paul speaks of himself, Romans 1:1 – "slave" and Peter and others – so we'd have appropriate references – but Bill and Vonette Bright, slaves of Jesus, because, as you know, we signed the contract in the spring of 1951 – literally wrote out a contract and signed it to be His slaves, and it's the most liberating thing that's ever happened to us.  I want that to be a testimony of the greatest privilege anyone can have – to be a slave of Jesus. Dennis:          Well, I want you to know, over a year and a half ago when the news came that it looked like you were going to be coming back to Florida, where we are here for this interview, to spend your final days and to die, I spent several hours writing you a letter of – just expressing my profound appreciation for being an employee for 33 years of Campus Crusade.  I'm coming up on my 33rd year.  Bill, it's a miracle you didn't fire me. Bill:                  You're too young. Dennis:          But I really – I appreciate you, your life, and I wanted you to know that face-to-face.  I wrote you the letter and expressed that in that letter, God used my dad in my life and some key pastors to disciple me, and I count you right up there at the top with them of men who have had a profound impact on my life. Bill:                  I'm not worthy to hear that, but I was so moved when you expressed your love in that way in the letter.  I treasure that. Dennis:          Well, I know you received quite a few of them, because I would run into guys who had said they had been to visit you, and I thought, "He's not going to have time to die.  He's got too many people lined up to express appreciation," but I love you. Bill:                  Well, you are very special to me, Dennis.  I have shared with many people through the years what an inspiration and challenge you are to me – what a blessing you are, and I'm just honored to be on this program, and I believe, in spite of the way God's already used you, the best is before you, and I predict that in your lifetime your influence will be as great as anything I've been privileged to experience worldwide. Dennis:          You are very kind. Bob:                Well, this has been a treat.  Over the last three days we've been listening to an interview that was recorded just a few months ago with Dr. Bill Bright, the founder and past president of Campus Crusade for Christ, and, boy, there at the end, it was a tender moment. Dennis:          It was and, frankly, I didn't think I was going to have the opportunity to say that face-to-face, Bob.  I had written some very tender words to him privately and had sent them to him because I thought, frankly, he was dying, but it was not something that I intended to do there at the end of our interview, but looking back on hearing those words again, it was a sweet moment, and I don't want our listeners to go away just yet, because at the end I was sitting there, and I was looking at you, Bob, and I really love and appreciate you, and I was thinking, "You know, if I was Bob, I would really like to hear Bill Bright pray for me."  And so I asked him to do that at the end, and he prayed for not only Bob but for me as well … Bob:                … he prayed for both of us … Dennis:          … and I want our listeners to hear that prayer. Bob:                Before we play that, let me let you know that we have copies of Dr. Bright's book on the character of God, the attributes of God.  It's called "God:  Discover His Character."  You can call 1-800-FLTODAY to request a copy or you can go online at FamilyLife.com.  Either way, we can have the book sent to you.  This is something you can use in your quiet time, you can use it for a group Bible study, you can use it for family devotions.  If you're home schooling, you can use it for your Bible curriculum with your children.  This is fundamental to how we live as Christians.  So let me encourage you to get a copy of this book, make sure it's in your library.  Again, it's called "God:  Discover His Character," by Dr. Bill Bright, and you can call 1-800-FLTODAY to request a copy or order online at FamilyLife.com.                         When you do contact us, if you'd like to get a copy of the complete interview with Dr. Bright – we've only been able to feature portions of it here on FamilyLife Today – but we have the entire discussion available on CD or on cassette, and you can request that resource online at FamilyLife.com or when you call 1-800-FLTODAY. As we played back that conversation, Dennis, I was thinking about the letter that you are going to be sending out to our Legacy Partners here in the next few weeks, where you talk about the fact that we have lost our respect for authority and our fear of God.  When we do know God, we develop a reverence and awe for who He is, and I appreciated your comments in that letter.  It's part of our regular communication with those folks who so support this ministry on a monthly basis.  Not only do they hear from you, but we often hear from them.  In fact, we had a Legacy Partner in New York state who wrote recently and said, "Pray for guidance on what would be God's perfect plan for us, whether we ought to add a fourth child to our family.  We just finished our most recent Homebuilders study, and our spiritual growth has skyrocketed.  Thank you for your prayers.  We are praying for you."  What a delight to hear from folks who not only support this ministry with their financial gifts but those of you who pray for us as well.  We have just added a whole bunch of new Legacy Partners to this ministry, and thanks to those of you who have joined with us in this effort. If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Legacy Partner, or if you'd like to request prayer, you can write to us at FamilyLife Today at Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas.  The zip code is 72221.  Once again, it's FamilyLife Today at Box 8220, Little Rock, Arkansas.  The zip code is 72221, or you can make a donation online at FamilyLife.com, and you can also phone in your donation at 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. Well, I hope our listeners have had the chance to listen over the last three days.  If not, I hope you'll get either the cassettes or the CDs of our conversation with Dr. Bill Bright.  That dialog went on for nearly two hours, and at the end of that time, Dennis, you asked Dr. Bright to pray for us, and we wanted our listeners to hear that prayer.  Here is Dr. Bill Bright. Bill:                  Father, Father, Holy Father, we bow in reverence before Your majesty.  We are in awe of Your greatness.  When we think of who You are, we realize how little we are, how small in comparison, and yet even when we were yet in our sins, You died for us.  You love us.  You delight in us, and I thank You that in your sovereignty You chose Dennis and Bob to do what they're doing, and You've anointed them and given them favor and great blessing, and I ask, Holy Father, You'll keep them pure, keep their motives pure, their hearts pure, their attitudes, their desires, that they will be men of God after Your heart.  There will be no sin in their lives that will hinder Your working in and through them.  That is they speak day after day to millions of people, and that number, O gracious God, I pray will increase by the millions.  They will be channels of Your love, Your forgiveness, Your grace, to the multitudes of earth.  I pray for the day when their ministry will literally encircle the globe, where millions upon millions, day after day, will be drawn closer to You, will love You and trust You and obey You because of their influence.  Lord Jesus, bless their families – their families and their children's children's children yet unborn, that they may always love You, serve You, trust You, obey You, and that the legacy of these men will go on and on until You return.  Blessed Holy Father, thank You once again for these men whom You have chosen, whom You have anointed, whom You have empowered and may all glory, honor, worship, and praise go to You.  We pray it in the name of the One whose name is above everything, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen. Bob:                FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.   We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you.  However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs? Copyright © FamilyLife.  All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 1) - Bishop Aaron Blake
Jan 5 2020
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 1) - Bishop Aaron Blake
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 1) - Bishop Aaron BlakeChristian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 2) - Diana PrykhodkoChristian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 3) - Bishop W.C. MartinFamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. Adopting the Football Team Guest:                        Aaron Blake              From the series:       Adopting the Football Team (Day 1 of 1)  Bob: Aaron Blake is a pastor and worked for years as a guidance counselor at a local high school. He says nothing in his background prepared him for a conversation he would have with a young man named Melvin.  Aaron: I didn’t understand what helping a 15-year-old in foster care was about. I had counseled folks with marriage, death and dying, jail—all kinds of situations—but never a foster kid that was in the system that had been in nine different placements since he was in high school. Now, he was sitting in front of me. I said this to him—I said: “Melvin, if I could, I’d take you home with me.” Bob: This is a special on-location edition of FamilyLife Today for Thursday, August 13th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll hear a powerful story from Bishop Aaron Blake today as we learn about how God enlarged his family. Stay tuned. 1:00 And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Once again, we’ve got maybe the world’s greatest studio audience joining us here at the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Summit. [Applause] [Laughter] We’re going to talk about something that your [Dennis’] heart for this subject has been expanded in a personal way over the last several years. Dennis: It has. Barbara and I have six children, one of whom is adopted—we don’t know which one [Laughter]—but our children have picked up the virus—the adoption virus. We now have 21 grandchildren through biological means but also adoption.  2:00 There’s a couple here—my engrafted son, Michael Escue—and his wife, who is our daughter, Ashley. Ashley and Michael have cared for 21 foster care children over the years and have emptied their county of any waiting children in the foster care system. [Applause] We have a hero with us that I think fulfills one of the words that Christ gave in His Sermon on the Mount. Matthew, Chapter 5, says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” You are about to meet a hero, who has let his light shine, along with his wife Mary of 38 years. Bishop Aaron Blake is going to join us on the stage. Come on up, Bishop. Bob: Bishop Blake, join us. [Applause] 3:00 Dennis: Welcome to the broadcast and our small studio here; okay. He has been a pastor for more than 35 years. For a number of years, Bishop, you served as a bi-vocational pastor. You were a high school guidance counselor. That’s really where the surgery for your heart began, around the subject of foster care—share how that happened. Aaron: Well, the school that I was presently serving had a situation where a number of kids came into the school—that were in foster care. Many times, kids that move from placement to placement had a situation where they lost credits every placement.  4:00 So, being there, as a guidance counselor/social worker, I wanted to find out how we can recover the credits of those kids so that that wouldn’t be another setback for them. My journey started when one kid came to me with that problem. Bob: That was Melvin who came to you; right? Aaron: Well, when he came into the office now, he came in the office with a little chip on his shoulder and a little attitude.  Bob: Yes. Aaron: He came in and sat down on the desk in front of me. He said, “I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know what you do; but you can’t make me go to class.” I said: “Well, I’m not the principal. I’m not the one that makes you do anything; but when you decide that you want to go to Brownwood High School, let me know.” He sat in front of me. He sat through first period, second period, and third period—and then the bell rang for lunch. He said, “Are you going to let me go eat?”  5:00 I said, “Man, you don’t have any lunch because you’re not enrolled.” [Laughter] I thought food would convince him that maybe he needs to get a class. He said, “Well, we’ll just sit here then.” Then, after the last bell rang, I got hungry. [Laughter]  We went to lunch, and that started the dialogue of who Melvin was. On the way to lunch, I noticed he had some biceps and triceps. So, on the way to lunch, I took him through the football gymnasium and dressing room. Something about a sock-smelling dressing room that goes into the head and nostril of a kid—and he said, “Do you think I could play football for Brownwood High School?” I said, “No way.” He said, “Why?!” “You won’t go to class!” [Laughter] We go get a burger. We come back—  6:00 —we come back through the hall where all of the trophies and the pictures [are] on the wall. That was my high school alma mater by the way—and two of those championships, I was on—there was my picture. I said, “You see that guy there?” He said, “Don’t tell me that was you.” I said, “Yes.” I said, “We won State Championship,”—pulled him by the coach’s office. The coach began to talk to him—say, “Hey, isn’t this the guy that’s going to come play football?” I said, “No way.” He said, “Why?!” I said, “Because he won’t”—and then Melvin punched me in the side. [Laughter]  We walked off and Melvin said: “Hey, I’ll make a deal with you. If you get me on the team, I’ll go to class.” I got him on the team / he went to class, but my main assignment that day was to recover Melvin’s lost credits. Many kids, across the country in foster care, these things happen. That’s why the drop-out rate and the inability to finish high school are high amongst foster children. 7:00 Dennis: You know, you not only cared about his lost credits, you also cared about his lost soul. Aaron: Yes. Melvin had gotten into class, gotten on the football team, and had some success that year. Then, at the end of the year, something happened with his placement. CPS [Child Protective Services] called and said, “We’re coming to get Melvin.” The school transferred the call to me. They said: “Would you prep Melvin because we’re going to have to move him. We know he’s having success, but something happened.”  Before I could get to Melvin, the CPS worker had already gotten to the school and told Melvin that he’s going to move. Melvin bolted out the door, ran to the side of the building, across the football field and was gone. The CPS worker came and said, “He probably is going to contact you because of relationship.”  8:00 That evening, I stayed at the school late. Melvin came in and sat in the same chair in front of my desk that he sat in the first day that he came to see me. He sat in that desk after running. Perspiration drenched his body / his clothes—running down his face. I couldn’t tell the tears running down his face from the perspiration. We sat what seemed like 15 minutes but probably was only 15 seconds. Finally, he squeaked out these words—and they’re the reason why I’m here today—he said, “Brother Blake, will you help me?”  Well, I didn’t understand what helping a 15-year-old in foster care was about. I had counseled folks with marriage, death and dying, jail—all kinds of situations—but never a foster kid that was in the system and had been in nine different placements since he was in high school.  9:00 Bob: Wow. Aaron: And now he was sitting in front of me. I said this to him—I said, “Melvin, if I could, I’d take you home with me.” He said, “Really?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You would take me home with you?” I said, “In a heartbeat.” I said, “But CPS is coming, and you have to go with them.” He said, “Okay.”  I learned, six months later, that Melvin heard something that I didn’t think I said; but I understood. Melvin told the caseworker that “Brother Blake said that I could come live with him.” [Laughter] They called me and they said, “Melvin said that you said he can come live with you.” I said, “Wow!” While I had the phone to my ear, I couldn’t say, “No.” There was something happening in my spirit and in my heart that I couldn’t say, “No.” At the same time, Mary was in my mind; and I couldn’t say, “Yes.” [Laughter] 10:00 On the way home, now, I rehearsed over and over [Laughter] what I was going to say to Mary. At supper that night, she was just going off about everything. I didn’t hear anything she said—[Laughter]—I was trying to figure out what I was going to say. Finally, I said, “Guess what happened to me today” [Laughter]; and then I told about Melvin.  I didn’t know that Melvin had been in her Sunday school class. She said, “You mean little Melvin doesn’t have a home?” I said, “No.” She said, “Little Melvin that goes to school?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “I hope you told them ‘Yes.’” I literally almost fell out of my chair. I couldn’t wait until the next morning to call CPS to tell them: “Hey, yes. Melvin can come.”  11:00 I called at 8:00 straight up and got voice mail; but anyway, finally when I got through, I said: “Tell Melvin, ‘Yes,’ he can come and live with us. We’re ready.”  Then they said, “Are you a licensed foster parent?” Bob: The audience knows a little bit about that. Aaron: Yes. Well, I didn’t know anything about it. I said, “What do you buy this at?” [Laughter] Well, we quickly found an agency and went through the process. Melvin came to live with us. That is how that story— Bob: That was the first of six foster sons—all of them foster sons—is that right? Aaron: Yes, all of them foster. Let me tell you this story quickly, if I can. Melvin played football. The outside tight end was a foster kid—blew his placement. At practice, Melvin went to him and said: “Don’t worry about it. [Laughter] I know where you can go.” [Laughter]  12:00 But then, the outside line backer blew his placement— Dennis: Well, you know how many kids are on a football team. Aaron: Well, I do. [Laughter] So Melvin and Joseph go and say to Buck: “Don’t worry about it guy. We can’t lose you! We’ve got to win the playoffs.” [Laughter] So, he came to live with us. [Laughter] CPS called and says: “He has a brother. [Laughter] We love to keep siblings together”; and he came to us. Six boys later, our house was filled up. Dennis: You were a bi-vocational pastor at that time. Your church watched you do this. What was the impact on your congregation? Aaron: I went to my church. I stood up one Sunday—heart was heavy because, at that particular time, there were 30, 000 kids in the system in Texas.  13:00 I also noticed there were an over representation of African-American children—a dis-proportionality—that was also in the system. God began to deal with me that Sunday on the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation without restoration won’t work. God has called us, because He’s reconciled us by Christ to Himself, and given us the ministry of reconciliation.  Then I say, “God, how can I really preach James 1:27, as undefiled religion without understanding restoration of families?—and restoration of children?”  So, I stood up that Sunday in front of my congregation. I said, “Guys, how many of you here would help me stand up for orphans?” I didn’t mean literally stand up; but a lady in the back stood up and said, “Pastor, I will.” Then another one stood up and said, “I will.” And another one stood up and said, “I will.” A year later, 36 kids were in our church because of Stand-Up Sunday. [Applause] 14:00 Dennis: That’s cool. [Applause] Just real quickly—because there’s one more of the six that you engrafted into your family that I want you to talk about—you’re on a mission now about the entire state of Texas. Share just a quick—if you can—about how you’re embodying the ministry of reconciliation there. Aaron: Well, the purifying part of James 1:27—that happened to Mary and I—is that we wanted to make sure that the body of Christ—across racial lines / across denominational lines—understand that the only way that we’re going to really understand, as a body of Christ, and heal our nation, and our children, and broken families is reconciliation and restoration.  15:00 The church has been absent with foster care and adoption. They’ve been absent with racial reconciliation / family reconciliation. It’s time for the church to stand up and say: “We are the voice. We have the ministry of reconciliation. And we’re for restoring families.” [Applause] Dennis: You and I could fight for the soapbox, at this point, because I think this is a huge opportunity for the church. You are the church—we can make a difference in our individual communities.  I want you to introduce us to a young man who you engrafted in—one of the six foster care boys that you cared for. Tell us about Diego. Aaron: Well, Diego, even when we—they would be upstairs at our house, and they would be [makes noises] doing all that kind of stuff. [Laughter] Dennis: Whoa, whoa, what was that? Aaron: [Makes noises again] “What’s that?” That was what they were doing when they didn’t have all the machines and all the stuff that made the sounds—they were rapping.  16:00 Dennis: Okay. Aaron: Diego would try to come up with lines and lyrics and all that kind of stuff. So, he started rapping back then.  Diego was at one of our meetings—that we were having across the state—and I had never told because I didn’t want our guys to be put on front street about an incident that happened. Mark had a candle in the window—wind blew in, caught the curtain, went up the wall, and our house burned down. We were having a meeting, like this, and telling folks that: “You need to step up. You need to become foster parents, and you need to adopt.” Then, Diego stands up and says, “We burnt the house down.” [Laughter] Dennis: Great advertisement for foster care; huh?  Aaron: Yes! [Laughter] But Diego went on to say—he said, “I knew that my mom”—and he called me Pop—“and my dad, Pop, really loved us unconditionally the next morning after the fire.”  17:00 Well, the boys, the next morning, didn’t want to go to school. I said, “What’s going on?” They said this, “We do not want to go to school and see PS [Protective Services] come and pick us up at school and embarrass us.” He told the story: “I knew that Mom and Dad loved me because [emotion in voice] we have been moved from place to place for stuff less than that. We knew they loved us.” That’s Diego. Bob: Hey, Pop, we’ve got a little surprise for you. Dennis: There’s something the audience knows that you don’t. [Diego walks out] Aaron: Oh! [Applause] My goodness!  Diego: Love you, Pop. Aaron: I’ve been dreaming about this. [Applause] Bob: Diego, have a seat.  Dennis: Diego, have a seat right here.  Bob: We thought this young arsonist ought to come out [Laughter] and—tell these folks that morning when Pop said to you, “It is okay.” 18:00 Diego: Well, like he explained in the story—when we did burn the house down, [Laughter] we burned the house down! [Laughter] Honestly, man, we thought we were headed somewhere else. We thought we were going to another foster home or somewhere else. Man, when I tell you this—this man, after the house burned down—instead of coming to us, and fussing at us and stuff, he took us—the only place open was Walmart®—he just took us to Walmart—bought us some clothes to go to school the next day. So, we went to school. After school, we worked out. We didn’t want to get back home because we knew that—hey, we were going somewhere else!  The next thing you knew—we were going to a different—of course, your mom’s house—moving us into your mom’s house and like we were there.  19:00 He was like: “Y’all are my boys. Y’all are engrafted in. There isn’t anything you can do to separate basically my love for you.” [Applause] Just being six boys that never had the type of love that [he] and Momma showed us—that love—that was just so awesome. It transformed our life, man. It really changed our destiny and the things that we are doing in life now. [Applause] Bob: You probably don’t know this; but Dennis has a favorite assignment that he likes to give to folks, like you, that I think you can probably improv this on the spot. Do you [Dennis] want to give him the assignment? Dennis: Yes. You just heard him, without addressing you, break down, weeping about his love for you, and how proud he is of you, and the privilege of loving you. You’ve got him, face to face. You’ve got a chance to give him a tribute. Would you like to do it? 20:00 Diego: Yes. I’ll give him a little something-something. [Laughter] I’ll give him a little something-something. So, of course, y’all know about “engrafted” and I heard—I think you said something about your engrafted son—I was listening in the back. This man—when we first came to his house, he said, “You are not foster children.” He said, “You are engrafted into my home.” He said, “I’m your Pop and everything that belongs to me, it now belongs to you.” We took advantage of it, too, [Laughter] because we were engrafted in. He said: “The same way with the Kingdom—now, you’re engrafted into the Kingdom of God. Everything that belongs to God now belongs to you, Diego.”  Of course, I’m a gospel artist—I do gospel rap. I wrote a song called—I entitled my album Engrafted. It just reflects the love that he showed us and the love that God is showing me now. So, man, thank you Pops. I just love you! 21:00 [Studio] Bob: Well, we have had the opportunity today to hear a conversation that took place at the recent Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Summit that was held in Nashville, Tennessee. For those of you who would be interested in seeing Diego Fuller do a rap song called Engrafted, we’ve got a link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com to the music video that he has put together. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.” You will see information about the brand-new Engrafted music video from Diego Fuller.  There’s also information, online, about the Christian Alliance for Orphans. If you’d like to find out more about their plans for next year’s summit, follow the link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com to the Christian Alliance for Orphans website. We also have resources available for those of you who are considering being foster parents or adoptive parents.  22:00 Look for the resources we have available when you go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link that says, “GO DEEPER.”  Maybe you’re not considering adoption or foster care but you still have a heart for helping orphans in our world, we have information about different ways that individuals and churches can be involved in helping address the needs of orphans, all around the globe. Again, you‘ll find all of this when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER.”  Now, the month of August is a significant month for us, here at FamilyLife. It’s actually the end of the year for us. We begin our fiscal year September 1st. So, we’re about to close the books on fiscal 2015 and start a new year, fiscal 2016, in September.  23:00 The reason I mention that is because, when you get near the end of the fiscal year, one of the things you’re always wondering is: “Will we have the money necessary to cover the budgeted expenses of this ministry?”  So, we’re asking you to consider making a yearend financial gift during the month of August to help us finish out our fiscal year in a healthy spot. That’s easy enough to do. You can go, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of our screen that says, “I CARE.” Or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY—make your donation over the phone. Or you can mail a donation to us at FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and our zip code is 72223.  By the way, when you make a donation right now, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a book from Dennis and Barbara Rainey called Two Hearts Praying as One.  24:00 If you are making your first donation in 2015, in addition to the book, we’d like to add a prayer card that will help you know how to pray for one another in your family, especially when you’re going through very difficult times, as a family. Again, all of that comes with our thanks for your support of this ministry.  Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about heading back to school. Barbara Rainey is going to be joining us tomorrow. We’ll tackle some of the issues that families face as they get ready to head back to school. Hope you can join us 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 next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.  FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.  We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?   Copyright © 2015 FamilyLife. All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 2) - Diana Prykhodko
Jan 5 2020
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 2) - Diana Prykhodko
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 1) - Bishop Aaron BlakeChristian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 2) - Diana PrykhodkoChristian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 3) - Bishop W.C. MartinFamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. From Spiritual Scars to a Forever Family Guest:                         Diana Prykhodko                 From the series:       From Spiritual Scars to a Forever Family (Day 1 of 1)  Bob: For Diana Prykhodko, trying to figure out how to navigate life started earlier than it does for most of us—much, much earlier.  Diana: I was actually nine years old when I decided I needed to run away from my birth mom, because her abuse had escalated a particular night from bad to worse. She was very drunk one night, and she woke me up. She was really angry. She woke me up and said, “I need you to get up!”  She stormed into the kitchen, and she threw the pot of hot water all over me.  Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, September 1st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll hear today how Diana Prykhodko became a trophy of God’s amazing grace. Stay tuned.  And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.  1:00 We’re going to leave our studio today and take you with us to an event where Dennis Rainey was recently—at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit—that was held earlier this year in Nashville, Tennessee. Dennis had a chance to sit down with Diana Prykhodko and hear an amazing story of God’s love and care for orphans.  [Recorded Interview]   Dennis: We’re going near the orphan. I thought of Job, Chapter 29, verse 12. Job gives his defense and talks about what he had done with his life—he said, “I delivered the poor who cried for help and the fatherless who had none to help him.”  We have a guest with us on FamilyLife Today who knows about people who have been obedient to what Job did. Diana Prykhodko joins us on FamilyLife Today. Welcome to the broadcast, Diana.  Diana: Thank you very much.  Dennis: Diana is—yes; you can welcome her. [Applause]   2:00 Diana is from the Ukraine. She has a great story of redemption, and I want you to take us back to your childhood. Tell us about the circumstances under which you grew up.  Diana: I grew up in Kiev, Ukraine. My birth mom was a single mom. We had no home/no place that we could consistently reside at. My birth mom was an alcoholic, a prostitute, and a drug user. She didn’t know how to love me from the very beginning. As my earliest memory of her, she was very abusive verbally, emotionally, and physically. She took out a lot of her anger on me throughout my childhood.  Dennis: What do you remember most about those years growing up?   Diana: What I remember most was just the turmoil— 3:00 —the constant fear of her abandoning me, the constant fear of not knowing where we would sleep the next day / if she would find some guy for us to spend the night at his apartment and not knowing what that person would be like—just the ups and downs of an unstable home environment and the ups and downs of her anger.  And when she would drink, she was very abusive; but when she was sober, she was a totally different person. It was difficult for me to gauge and understand when she would be in a good mood or a bad mood.  Dennis: She ultimately had what would be the equivalent of a nervous breakdown— Diana: That’s right.  Dennis: —and went to a mental hospital.  Diana: That’s correct.  Dennis: Then, came back. You stayed with friends while she was gone. There was no other person to stay with.  Diana: That’s right.  Dennis: What was it like when she came back?   Diana: Life was really chaotic. Her anger escalated. Things just went from bad to worse.  4:00 She was not protecting me / she was hurting me. She was drinking. She was trying to go to grocery stores and different places. She would hold my hand; and then, she’d walk away. I would be looking for her.  Dennis: You ultimately fled.  Diana: I did.  Dennis: You were how old when you ran away?   Diana: I was actually nine years old when I decided I needed to run away from my birth mom because of her abuse. Her abuse had escalated a particular night from bad to worse. She was very drunk one night. She woke me up and she said: “I need you to get up!  I want you to make me some borscht,”—which is a Ukrainian soup. We were poor. We didn’t have anything. I said, “Mom, I don’t really know how to cook; but I don’t see any potatoes. I do not have the ingredients to make this food.”  Her anger just escalated so bad that she stormed into the kitchen, and she threw the pot of hot water all over me.  5:00 She ended up putting my face, with her whole weight bearing my face down on the burner on the stove. I tried to push her off of me, but her weight was more than I could bear. She ended up doing horrific things to me the rest of the night. I ran away from her after that episode because I knew that I could die with her— Dennis: Yes.  Diana: —or I could try on the streets, and I could try my luck and make my life better without her around.  Dennis: The streets for a nine year old—a nine year old girl. I mean, come on?  That had to be dangerous; huh?   Diana: It was very dangerous. I was on the streets for about a year. I found some friends. We ended up calling ourselves “The gang.”  We ended up filling our—it was our little circle, and we felt protected. We kind of took care of each other.  6:00 We would beg for money.  There were different ages. There was probably eight or ten of us, and we had a guy that was our leader. Then, we had the girls—we had the older girls / the younger girls. Our leader told the older girls needed to do the older girl things. The younger kids can just stand and beg for money. By the end of the night, we would get back together—bring in the money / bring in the food. He would decide what we would do with our resources that night. Most of the time, he opted out for buying us drugs or glue. We would sniff and get high and forget about the fact that we were hungry or cold.  Dennis: [Emotion in voice] I’m a grandfather of some nine-year-old granddaughters. I’m sitting here, listening to this, and I’m going, “That’s not what children are supposed to experience.” I’m sorry. Your story goes on. Even in the midst of the streets, God protected you because usually little girls, like you, would die in the streets.  7:00 There was a place and a man who ended up being good, like Job, and who rescued you. Explain who Roman was.  Diana: When I was on the streets of Kiev, Roman was the man that started taking care of orphans. He started inviting us. I was very shy. I was very concerned about this first step, because I didn’t know if I could trust; but I tried because I was desperate, and I had to give it one more try.  So, when I went to Roman, he and his volunteers—they introduced me to Christ. They fed me. They clothed me. They took care of me, and they loved me. They didn’t expect anything back from me—they just let me go. Then, the next week, I would come back. Then, the next week, I’d come back; and there would be more children. Soon, before you knew it, there was a line of us fighting to get into this apartment.  Dennis: The apartment and the ministry ultimately became— 8:00 Diana: Father’s House!   Dennis: The Father’s House— Diana: Yes.  Dennis: —which is what you needed—was a father.  Diana: That’s right. Amen!   Dennis: There was another angel sent to you from Springfield, Missouri.   Diana: That’s correct. During my stay at Father’s House, there was a man that came from Springfield, Missouri. His name is Bob Layman. Bob Layman came on a mission’s trip. He looked at the orphanage / he looked at all of us kids, and God spoke to his heart about me. At the end of his trip, he went back home. God was just doing something in his heart.  Bob Layman started collecting funds and started collecting things—within his own family/ with his own little circle at his church. He took my picture, and he showed it to his family and to the local hospital—he said, “We’ve got to do something for her.”  When he went to this hospital and tried to get donations or anything they could do to help me, at first, they just kind of turned him away.  9:00 They said: “We cannot donate. That’s a very large amount.”  Bob just left the picture of me on the desk of one of the doctors, and he walked out.  Dennis: What was their response?   Diana: When the doctor got back that day, he said, “Who is this?!”  The nurses and the people said, “Oh, there was just some man that came in yesterday asking for donations; but we don’t know who this child is, and we’re not sure who he is. We don’t have his contact information.”  And that man said, “Find this man and find this child.”  And God opened the door after that.  They invited me to come to Springfield, Missouri, to receive medical attention because they had never seen such a severe case of a small child being severely burned. They donated all their services—the anesthesiologist, doctors, and surgeons, and nurses.  Dennis: Over a million dollars’ worth— Diana: Yes!   Dennis: —of medical care.  Diana: And they took care of me. I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while I was recovering from 18 plastic surgeries.  10:00 Dennis: Dental work?   Diana: I had dental work. It was from my neck up. I had no hair from where my birth mother burned me—they were third degree burns. They did an amazing job of making me look like a woman and feeling precious.  Dennis: Well, you’re beautiful.  Diana: Thank you. [Applause]   Dennis: Diana, this is just a side note. I was born in St. John’s Hospital.  Diana: Oh, wow!   Dennis: Yes. So, I know that area well. While you were recovering and going through all the plastic surgeries, you stayed with some families who showed you what a family was like. Ultimately, your visa ran out. You had to go back to Ukraine. It left a longing in your heart for a family. Not long after you were back at the Father’s House again, there was another visitor.  Diana: There was another visitor—a very special visitor—by the name of Tara Quinn. She went to Father’s House with her oldest son, Clay, on a mission’s trip.  11:00 She came, and she walked through our orphanage, and walked through our Father’s House. I was doing some homework in a particular room upstairs. As she walking through with the rest of the missionary team, she stopped and talked to me. I was very glad she was able to stop. I was very glad to share my life with her—I feel like God was opening my heart and opening her heart.  Dennis: Something was happening in your heart. You were longing for her to become your mom.  Diana: I was.  Dennis: And you didn’t realize it, but the same thing was happening in hers.  Diana: That’s right. And I remember when she had to leave that I was feeling like my heart was coming out my chest. I felt like I wanted her to be my mom so badly. I was longing for her to be that mother figure that would just love and cherish me and be there for me. When they left and they sat on the bus, I couldn’t help it but run after that bus.  12:00 Dennis: Oh.  Diana: And I didn’t know if I would ever see her again or not, but I sure prayed I would. After she left, I kept praying and asking Roman if there was a family for me or if it was too late. I remember one day when my prayers were answered. I got a phone call, and it was Tara Quinn. I remember that phone call very vividly. She asked me if I wanted to be adopted; and my answer was, “Yes!”  [Applause]   Dennis: You were how old at the time?   Diana: I was 15 years old.  Dennis: Fifteen.  Diana: Yes.  Dennis: That family pulled you in—made you their own. You think it’d be happily ever after, but it wasn’t.  Diana: That’s right. Now, that I had my family and I was able to have the home I’d always longed for— 13:00 —and I was able to create the memories I’d always wanted and have the brothers and all the drama of having a family—times weren’t easy because, as I stayed in my family, I realized that I did not know how to love them back.  I had a hard time accepting their love; and because of my understanding at the time, I just continued to push my family away for some reason. They loved me, they adopted me, they gave me everything; but I was not able to give them what I knew I wanted to give them. But that was because my own heart was broken. God was molding, and fixing, and putting me in this family that’s just my forever family.  Dennis: And you know, that’s important for those of us, who’ve got a heart for the orphan. We need to realize that it takes time to heal a heart. You can invite someone in to be in the family, make them your own, and you feel like they’re yours; but there are wounds that are unseen, and there are wounds that are seen that do take time to heal.  14:00 Ultimately, you rebelled.  Diana: I did. I rebelled against my parents. I rebelled against everything they taught me. I actually ended up telling my parents, one day, that I was just ready to move out. I was grown, and I was ready to do this on my own. I moved out. I went to live with my best friend, and I thought I was going to have life by the reigns and do this thing called life. And I was wrong!   Very shortly after moving out from home, finding out that I still needed the covering of my family—I needed the love, I needed the support, and I was not ready to be on my own—I found myself in desperation. I found myself needing my family. I ended up coming home—asking if I could come home— 15:00 —and my family accepted me back. They brought me back with open arms, regardless of the fact that I had said I wanted to go live by myself and “I’ve got this.”  My family invited me back. It was just like the prodigal son.  Well, a couple weeks after I’d gotten home, I found out I was pregnant. So, I rebelled against my family—just to the extreme. But my family has never given up on me. They have always loved me through this difficult time, where I broke my family’s heart, and broke my mother’s heart with the news of being pregnant outside of wedlock.  Dennis: I’m going to ask two of the three most significant people in your life, who happened to be here today—Roman, all the way from the Ukraine, and Tara, her mom—to come up on stage and just express a little love and appreciation.  16:00 Roman/Tara, where are you?  [Applause]  You [Diana] stay right here.  Roman, you’ve got quite a ministry going with orphans; but you’ve seen God work in one’s life right here. Is there something you’d like to say to Diana?   Roman: For me, it’s a big blessing. We invested to your family. Now, you are hero because you serve to the children. I, like, John Baptist who prepared road to Jesus in your life. Through you, God will do more with power and strength. You can do more than me / than our generation, because you understand each orphan and homeless child.  17:00 Bless you, Diana. I love you. Thank you, God, for you. [Applause]   Dennis: Tara?   Tara: Yes.  Dennis: It’s your turn. Hold it together; okay?   Tara: [Emotion in voice] Yes; yes. A couple of things—a Scripture the Lord wanted me to share, when He was doing this work in my heart / in my family’s heart, was Psalm 68, verse 6—says, “He sets the solitary into families.”  And Diana is our daughter / she’s our forever daughter. She has a birth mother, but I’m her mother—I’m her mother, and she is my daughter.  These children need us. They need us.  Dennis: Yes.  Tara: They do. I’m so proud of her. She told a lot today, and I didn’t ask her the questions of what she would share exactly.  18:00 I’m so proud of you for being able to release the ugly with the good and to let you know that you are God’s daughter—not just our daughter—and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that you are perfect the way that you are, Diana. I love you / your family loves you.  This granddaughter’s name is Alexis. She’s six years old, and we adore her; and she’s with us. I’ve been in prolife ministry for 25 years. This other family wanted to have our granddaughter aborted. Can you imagine that?  Somebody said, “Do they not know this family?”  I said, “Obviously not!”  [Laughter]  It’s the God of life; and we’re so glad for your life, Diana.  Diana: Thank you.  Tara: And you’ve made a difference in ours. [Applause] Diana: Thank you.  Dennis: You know it’s too bad Bob Layman who helped you get to Springfield, Missouri, had other plans today.  19:00 I suppose he might be listening to these broadcasts someday. Is there something you’d like to say to him by way of appreciation?   Diana: I would love to say to him: “Thank you. Thank you for listening to God.”    Dennis: Could I stop you for just a second?   Diana: Yes.  Dennis: Bob, would you come out here?   Diana: Bob’s here!  [Applause]   Bob: Do you remember that?   Diana: The pillow! [Laughter] Bob: Do you remember that?   Diana: Yes, I remember. Thank you.  Dennis: What’s the story on the pillow, Bob?   Bob: So many people gave from the town I live in and from a town nearby. They brought so many things, but she was always attached to that pillow.  Diana: Thank you so much!  [Applause] Dennis: So, Diana, you have a chance to say it to him now.  Diana: Wow!   Dennis: What would you like to say?   20:00 Diana: I would like to say: “Thank you for listening to God. Thank you for being so in tune. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for going and letting God use you. Thank you for just—I know that, maybe, at times, you felt like: ‘How can I make a difference?  I’m just one person.’  But you’re just one person that God had to use. You were just that one person that God needed; and because of you and God’s using you, I am here. I was waiting for you.”   Bob: I’m honored.  Diana: Thank you.  Bob: You’re a sweet young lady.  Diana: Thank you.  Dennis: You’re a hero for stepping out in faith and engaging a little girl—and so are you and you.  We started this by talking about seeds—planting seeds. One of the great lies, I believe, the devil of hell says to people is “You can’t make a difference.”  21:00 You can—you can make a difference.  May I conclude our time by giving thanks?   Lord, God, You are the Great Redeemer. Thank You for chasing us down, and redeeming us, and adopting us into Your family, for still loving us, still pursuing us, still coming after us. And thank You for this magnificent story of perseverance, redeeming love, and of restoration of life. We give You the honor and the glory. In Jesus Christ’s name; Amen.  Audience: Amen.  Dennis: Would you like to express your appreciation to these?  [Applause]   [Studio]   Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to an amazing story today—a story that was captured at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit that took place in Nashville earlier this year.  If you or anyone in your church has a burden for the plight of the orphan, adoption, foster care, let me encourage you to consider attending the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit next May.  22:00 It’s going to be May 4th and 5th. It’ll be at Brentwood Baptist Church, just outside Nashville, Tennessee. There is more information available, and you’ll find it when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the link for the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com to find out more about the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit next spring.  We want to take a minute and wish a “Happy anniversary!” today, to Jason and Violetta Perry. I think it s Víoletta—I don’t if it’s Víoletta or Vióletta—but the Perrys are celebrating ten years together as husband and wife today. They live in Fairfield, California—listen to FamilyLife Today on KFIA. They’ve been to the Weekend to Remember® a number of times. We just want to say, “Happy Anniversary!”    We think anniversaries matter and ought to be celebrated. We just recently celebrated our 40th anniversary, here at FamilyLife— 23:00 —had a great couple of days with friends and supporters, from all across the country, who came in for our two-day celebration. And it was good to pause and just reflect on what God has done over the last four decades in the ministry of FamilyLife. And I hope the Perrys will take some time today and just reflected on how God has been at work in their marriage over the last ten years.  We want to say, “Thank you,” to those of you who have made our last 40 years possible—those of you who support this ministry and who also believe that anniversaries matter and make a difference. Thanks for your financial support of this ministry.  And if you’re able to make a contribution today, we would love to send you, as a thank-you gift, our 2017 FamilyLife calendar. I know you’re thinking, “It’s just September,” but the calendar actually starts in October of 2016. So, you can get it now and put it to good use before the New Year is here. The calendar is our thank-you gift when you go online to donate or when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY and make a donation.  24:00 Or you can mail your donation and request the calendar. Write to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.  Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about the start of the NFL season and talk about what’s going on behind the scenes to help provide spiritual care for the players and the coaches. We’ll talk about the NFL chaplaincy program tomorrow. 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 next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.  FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.  We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?   Copyright © 2016 FamilyLife. All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 3) - Bishop W.C. Martin
Jan 5 2020
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 3) - Bishop W.C. Martin
Christian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 1) - Bishop Aaron BlakeChristian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 2) - Diana PrykhodkoChristian Alliance For Orphans Interviews (Part 3) - Bishop W.C. MartinFamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. The Miracle from Possum Trot Guest:                         W. C. MartinFrom the series:       The Miracle from Possum Trot (Day 1 of 1)  Bob: When the bishop at Bennett Chapel Baptist Church in Possum Trot, Texas, W.C. Martin and his wife Donna, decided they were going to adopt some children from the foster care system, they had no idea what was about to happen in their little town. W.C.: We don’t have any Ph.D. folks at our church that can map out this and show you how to do that. We don’t have that. But what we do have was just pure love that we can give a child. We just do the Word—like you just said, being a doer of the Word. This ain’t about having a meeting to see if we want to do this. We just did the Word and gave God the GLORY for doing it! [Applause] Bob: This is a special edition of FamilyLife Today for Friday, November 25th. This program was recorded in front of a live studio audience. You’ll hear our conversation today with W.C. Martin, and hear how revival almost broke out in the middle of the interview. Stay with us.  1:00 [Recorded Message] And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. Once again, we have got a wonderful live studio audience with us. We are here at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit IX! [Applause] Yes! [Laughter] And as I was thinking about what we’re going to talk about today, I was thinking about one of your favorite quotes from Billy Graham. Do you know the quote I’m talking about? Dennis: I do. He said: “Courage is contagious. When one man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” We’re going to hear a story today about a man and his wife who took a courageous stand on behalf of the orphan, and took God at His Word. I was reminded of this—a lot of Christians live their entire Christian faith out and never step out and never take this verse and the promise of what it means.  2:00 Listen to this—Ephesians, Chapter 3, verse 20: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.” I think one of the great challenges for us, in this day, is looking around at a culture that has a target-rich environment for us to be salt and light in this world but, especially, as we address the needs of orphans. Taking on the issue of foster care and adoption, we need to be men and women, young men and women, boys and girls of faith, who take God at His Word and expect great things from Him. Bob: We’re going to meet somebody today who caused the spines of others to stiffen by the courageous step he took. It’s a story that has been told on Oprah, and the Today Show, and just about everywhere— 3:00 —not just here in the United States—but internationally. We want you to join us and welcome to the stage Bishop W.C. Martin. Would you welcome him? [Applause] Dennis: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, Bishop. You and your wife Donna have been married for 35 years.  W.C.: Yes. Dennis: You have six children, four of whom are adopted. Apart from that being the claim to your fame—I know that’s number one, there, and your love for Christ—you are the bishop of Bennett Chapel in Possum Trot, Texas. W.C.: On the other side of Coonville. Bob: Known as what?—South Coonville? W.C.: On the other side of Coonville. [Laughter] Dennis: This goes back to 1996. Take us back to how this all started in Possum Trot. W.C.: Well, my wife’s mother passed.  4:00 She had one of those community-type mothers—everybody coming to her house, and eat, and play, and everything. She had 18 brothers and sisters of them. Bob: Eighteen. W.C.: Yes, 18. On the passing of her mother, she said one morning, “Lord, if You can’t take this burden from the loss of my mother, just let me die.” The Lord just spoke and said, “Give back.” God told us to adopt—foster and adopt. The whole thing started right there. We went to class. We had to take 12 weeks of Pride classes in Texas. Dennis: Let me just stop you for a second, though. This starts a lot of times—adoption—with our wives speaking into our hearts. W.C.: Yes. Dennis: A lot of us, as men, kind of get dragged into this. You had some fears.  W.C.: I sure did.  Dennis: You had some concerns. W.C.: I sure did; because she had kind of told me some other things and didn’t follow through with it; you know? Bob: Ahhh. [Laughter] 5:00 W.C.: I said, “Here goes another one of them.” [Laughter] Dennis: “Can this marriage be saved?” I understand! [Laughter] W.C.: I said, “Here goes another one of them hair-brained ideas you’re coming up with!” [Laughter] Dennis: I just want to remind you this is live radio, and Donna will be listening. W.C.: Oh! [Laughter] Bob: I just want to find out from the audience: “How many of you had husbands who said, ‘Here goes another one of her hair-brained ideas’?” Raise your hand. There are a lot of hands up here; yes!  W.C.: Well, good thing I’m not the only little boy on the block! [Laughter] Dennis: So what eventually won you over? W.C.: Well, I felt the calling of God. I felt, within myself, that this was what God wanted us to do—not even knowing what the outcome was going to be / not even knowing anything about this because I always thought that people—I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as adoption, because I thought people always took care of their children. That’s all I ever knew. I didn’t think anything else, you know; because in places like Possum Trot, there was always a Grandmamma Yelma, or Aunt Pookanell, or somebody, when Mama died, you came in. [Laughter] 6:00 That’s what I always thought; you know? I never knew anything different. So, that started it. What happened was—when we adopted our first little boy / little girl, named Mercedes, who had been in nine homes for one year. They didn’t want us to have those children, because they figured that we were new in the business and new in the game—we could not deal with Mercedes and Tyler because they had such a bad record. But, then again, we showed them that we had Somebody on our side that they didn’t know anything about. [Laughter and cheering] Don’t start me preaching up here now; I don’t want to do that! [Laughter] Dennis: We know it’s going to happen! [Laughter] Mercedes was five and her brother was— W.C.: Three. Dennis: —three. Where had they been? Why were they in the foster care system? W.C.: Because their mother had gotten killed in Dallas, Texas, in a bad drug deal.  7:00 As a result of it, Mercedes had to end up being the mother and the father for Tyler. She ended up just developing this thing about stealing and lying. She could con a con artist herself; you know?—until— Dennis: Yes. W.C.: —until she met me. [Laughter] Dennis: Yes. This is what I want our audience to know—not that he can take over a liar—[Laughter]—but I want the audience to know that for all these drug busts we see on TV / the crime—there are kids involved. W.C.: There surely are. Dennis: They’re going someplace. W.C.: Yes. Dennis: I know a family that, since they’ve been here at this event, in the past 48 hours, got a phone call at 1:15 a.m. to take care of five kids who had just been delivered to the sheriff’s office, or the police station, and were sleeping on the floor because they had nowhere to go—all as a result of crime. W.C.: Yes. 8:00 Dennis: So we kind of make it out there; but when you go near the foster care system, you’re going to find it’s up-close and personal. Bob: I just want to know: “When you brought Mercedes and her little brother into your house, was it hard for a while?” W.C.: I think it was harder on them because Mercedes was used to just going from place to place. Nine homes in one year is a lot of places. Bob: Oh, yes. W.C.: She didn’t trust nobody. That was the big problem Mercedes had—she trusted nobody—because she didn’t know what trust was all about. She didn’t know how to trust / she didn’t know the first thing about trust. What we had to do was to win Mercedes and Tyler over. I figured that if we got Mercedes, Tyler was going to do whatever Mercedes said—that was the situation. It was a bad, bad situation; because she had experienced so much at a young age. Bob: How long did it take, and what did you do to win Mercedes over? W.C.: Showed them a lot of love— 9:00 —just loved them out of what they were in to show them that that was never God’s will for them to have a life like that and that we are here. I told her—I said: “Mercedes, look. This is the last train to Georgia. You are not going nowhere. You might as well say, ‘This is it.’” And that was it. Dennis: You decided to adopt that quickly? W.C.: The way the state set it up—is that we had to foster for six months, with the intention of adoption after six months was up. Bob: And when you did this, word spread around Possum Trot what the bishop and his wife were doing; didn’t it? W.C.: Yes; it spread it. By the same token, I’d been the person over our congregation. People now began to understand what adoption was really all about, not knowing in the beginning. I looked up every Scripture that I could find in the Bible. I learned that adoption was a God-thing, in the beginning. You know, if you look back—there was Moses was adopted / Esther was adopted.  10:00 A lot of people differ with me on this, but Jesus was an adopted child. I know there are other ways you can look at it, but He was an adopted child. [Applause] Dennis: Yes; and just to illustrate here—one of my favorite questions to ask an audience is: “How many of you, in this audience of almost 2,500 people, are adopted?” Hold your hands up. W.C.: Everybody! [Laughter] Dennis: Well, those of you who didn’t hold your hands up, would you read Ephesians, Chapter 1: [Laughter] “…whom He predestined to become His sons”—and daughters—“through adoption.” W.C.: That’s right. Dennis: The reason I think God calls us, as believers, to go near the orphan and to care for orphans is—it is God’s heart / and it had better be, because we were lost and now we’ve been found. Bob: Now, you’ve got him preaching! See how this works?—back and forth! [Laughter]  Dennis: Yes. So what happened in your church? 11:00 W.C.: Well, after I got up and explained to the church what was going on, we started having families after families come and say, “I would like to do this, but I don’t want…”—we had to drive 120 miles, round-trip, to take what they call Pride classes, that was a 12-week course. I had enough families—I went to the state and asked them, “Would they be willing to come to our church and teach the classes?”  Well, the lady said, “If you could go and find me eight families,” which they knew that was something that was just impossible to do—so they thought—but you know, God had another plan for it. What happened was—when I went and got the families, I carried a list back and laid it before her. When she unfolded the paper, I had 23 families on that list. [Laughter and cheering] Dennis: So what happened? She came? W.C.: She did! [Laughter] I don’t know how many of you in here are case workers or ever did that before, but the work load that a case worker has to do is enormous!—  12:00 —you know, doing the home studies and doing the background history checks. That’s a lot of work for anyone to do—and to say that she got 23 families now—that she’s got to do all that work for. [Laughter] Dennis: At the time you started this, with 23 families—how many attended your church?  W.C.: We probably had about 85 families. Dennis: So a fourth of your church, back then, stepped up to care for foster care kids. W.C.: They stepped up, not having anything—because we didn’t know / we didn’t have a clue as to what was all involved. I did not know that there were children who had their own agenda and own ideas about where they were. I didn’t know that they steal. I didn’t know that they lie. I didn’t know that they do stuff like that. I didn’t have a clue about that.  Dennis: Right. W.C.: But they sent me to school, as well as gave me a Doctor’s degree in child psychology! [Laughter] But by the same token, what happened—God had already taught us patience.  13:00 My oldest son—my biological son—is 29 years old. He was born with severe brain damage. So then, my brother thought that I had lost my mind. Bob: I am guessing Possum Trot is not an affluent community. W.C.: It’s not. It’s not at all, because it’s a very poor community. One family that I have, right now: She had adopted five little girls / one of them was her child—she adopted five. Then, her sister died—she had got three. Then, her sister’s husband died. Then, I went to the state because I did not want to see those children go back into the system in which they were fixing to come. I went to them and asked them, “What could we do to keep those children in the community?”  This family brought those children into their home. What she did—she raised 11 children in a trailer house. [Audience gasp] Bob: Wow. Dennis: You just raised an issue that I want our listening audience to be aware of. The church needs to realize the state is not the enemy when it comes to foster care. [Applause]  14:00 They really are—the state really is waiting, I think, for the church to come to them and to say: “We want to cooperate. We want to help you”; because the state doesn’t know what to do with these children. They don’t have homes for them to go into. They need someone to step up, and step forward, and say, “Give us—give us your children.” W.C.: Yes; that’s right. That’s right. See, that’s what we did. We had a rough time in the beginning, because the school didn’t know what to do about the children. But for the most part—I could say it like this: “If God is for you, who can be against you?” [Applause] It doesn’t matter!  Dennis: Right. W.C.: It does not matter what goes on. If God calls you to this particular ministry, you are going to catch some slack, and you are going to catch some problems; but, ultimately, I can say you shall be victorious over everything that what they say:  15:00 “It can’t be,”— with God, it can be; because the Scripture said, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” Bob: Now, you got him to preaching. See how this works? [Laughter] Dennis: Well, there’s a reason why the school system felt the stress of what happened at Bennett Chapel. W.C.: Yes. Dennis: Share with the audience how many children have been adopted into families of your church. W.C.: We have, at this time, 76 children that have been adopted. [Applause and cheering] Bob: How has that changed Possum Trot? W.C.: It changed our hearts and opened our hearts up to let us know that God created it all. It’s not so much what we’re doing for ourselves—but what we’re doing for others—because that’s what Jesus did. Dennis: Right. W.C.: He went out of His way to show us that He loved us. What He wants us to do is follow that same trend and go all out of our way.  16:00 Adoption is a great thing. It’s one of the greatest things that we ever can do, because we are only following what God has already started by adopting us. Back then, that was a part of the plan of salvation—was adoption. That’s what we have to do, now. Everybody can’t do it, but everybody can be a part of what God is doing in that arena of adoption. [Applause] Dennis: We sometimes think that we’re doing the orphan a favor by going near and doing the noble thing of being a foster care parent or perhaps adopting. The orphan is certainly the recipient of love, but we don’t realize how much we need the orphan to save us from toxic self-absorption. Bob: Yes. Dennis: Haven’t you found that in your own life? W.C.: Yes, yes, yes—because Mercedes called my wife, the other day—she said: “Mamma, I don’t know where I would be, because of the way my life was going, if it had not been for what you and Dad have done for me.  17:00 “I don’t know how my life would have turned out.” Mercedes was a child that—she could steal you blind, tell the same lie a thousand times—never change her facial expression / never change one word of it—but she couldn’t even count to ten. My wife used to spend hours, every day, putting pennies on the table to teach Mercedes. She taught her how to count to ten. Then, she taught her how to count to twenty, and just went on up. It ended up—Mercedes was an honor roll student in her class.  You know, God is showing us that these children have purpose in their life. They are just not—somebody—no; we are not doing them a favor, but I think they’re doing us a favor; because what they are doing—they are teaching us some things about love that we don’t even know. They are teaching us some God-kind of love—not just we are trying to love somebody—but they’re teaching us something because those children really taught me what true love and pure love was all about— 18:00 —because we were reaching out, and bringing them in, and showing them a light that we were supposed to have been doing all the time.  This is something that every church on this earth needs to reach up and wake up: “If they can do it in Possum Trot, on the other side of Coonville—and they don’t have no streetlights, don’t have no street signs, don’t have no hotels and all that stuff—we ought to be able to do it in our church.” Thank You, Jesus! [Applause, cheering, laughter] Dennis: I would imagine, right now, that every person, who is listening to this broadcast, goes to church. What is there unclear about the statement you just made? Go to your pastor, go to your elder board / your deacon board—whatever the structure is—and say: “Let’s do something. Let’s be doers of the Word, and be those who are about caring for the orphan.” W.C.: Yes; yes. 19:00 Bob: But don’t just take it to the elders and deacons and say, “Here, you guys do something,”— Dennis: Oh, exactly, Bob. Bob: —because they have enough to do. You need to go and say, “We’re here—ready to do whatever we can do to help this be a part of the culture of our church.” Dennis: And it’s going to cost you.  Bob: Yes. Dennis: It’s going to cost you 12 weeks of training, or whatever it is in your state.  W.C.: Yes; yes. Dennis: You’re going to see a lot of red tape and a lot of system; but it’s like: “If that’s all the cause means to you and you’re not willing to endure some things like that, then find something that grabs your heart.” W.C.: We don’t have any Ph.D. folks at our church that can map out this and show you how to do that—we don’t have that. But what we do have was just pure love that we can give a child. We just do the Word—like you just said—being a doer of the Word. This isn’t about having a meeting to see if we want to do this. We just did the Word and gave God the GLORY for doing it! [Applause] 20:00 Dennis: And all of God’s people said: Audience: Amen! [Laughter] Dennis: We’re going to close the broadcast with a question; because I would like to know, “Out of everything you’ve done in all of your life, what is the most courageous thing you have ever done?” W.C.: I believe the most courageous thing that I’ve done, first of all, personally, was to accept Christ as my Savior. [Applause] That was number one.  And number two—I think that what I’ve done was to share me with so many children, all across this country. I’ll continue to do that as long as God lets these legs move and lets this voice talk. I’m going to continue to let the world know that the church—the leaders / the pastor—we have a duty to perform before God. Don’t let this go down as, “God got an indictment against the church for what He told us to do and we refused to do it.” That’s a bad thing!  21:00 Let us, at this point, get involved / make a difference. Tell the pastor, “Look, we got to do this.” We, as pastors, are just like a mailman—we didn’t write the letter, but we’ve got to deliver the letter. So what I’m saying to you: “Tell your people about adoption. If you can’t do it, help them out to do it. Just do something!” [Applause] Dennis: Well, I want to thank you for being a courageous man— W.C.: God bless you. Dennis: —and for being a man who believes the God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond— Dennis and W.C.: —all we can ever ask or think. Dennis: To Him be the glory for this generation and all generations. Bob: Would you guys thank Bishop Martin for joining us here? [Applause] W.C.: God bless you.   [Studio] Bob: Well, it’s fun to listen back to our interview with Bishop W.C. Martin.  22:00 This took place back in 2013 at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit—a great event that is held annually in May. In fact, May 4th and 5th of 2017, the Summit will take place at Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. There’s a good line-up on-hand. Ann Voskamp is going to be at the Summit this year / Andrew Peterson will be there. Of course, we’ll be there, again, doing interviews for FamilyLife Today.  If you have a heart for orphan ministry—or for your church / if you’re involved in orphan ministry—plan to join us at the Summit, May 4th and 5th, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee. If you need more information about the Summit, go to our website, which is FamilyLifeToday.com. There’s a link there that can get you all the information you need about next year’s event. 23:00 Now, as the Christmas season is officially here—now that Thanksgiving is over—as you head toward the last few weeks of the year, I know some of you are beginning to think about yearend contributions to ministries, like FamilyLife Today. You need to know that all of the programs you hear on Christian radio look to this time of year as a significant time. What happens in the next few weeks really determines a lot about what our ministries will be like in 2017.  So I want to encourage you, first of all, as you think about yearend contributions, make sure that your local church is in first place in your giving. We believe that the local church ought to be your giving priority. Then, if there are programs on this station that have had an impact in your life this year, consider giving a yearend gift to one of those programs. If FamilyLife Today is one of those programs, we hope you’ll consider a yearend contribution to this ministry as well. As I said, your financial support now determines a lot about what we can do in the months ahead.  24:00 We hope you’ll prayerfully consider how you might support the programs on Christian radio that have ministered to you during the year 2016. And we hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to talk about how we keep Jesus at the center of our holiday celebration by remembering who He is and what Christmas is really all about. Barbara Rainey will be with us. I hope you can join us as well. 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 next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.  FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.  We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?   Copyright © 2016 FamilyLife. All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Life Worth Living (Part 1) - Elisabeth Elliot
Jan 5 2020
A Life Worth Living (Part 1) - Elisabeth Elliot
A Life Worth Living (Part 1) - Elisabeth ElliotA Life Worth Living (Part 2) - Elisabeth ElliotFamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. A Life Worth LivingDay 1 of 2 Guest:                        Elisabeth Elliott From the series:       What in Life is Worth Living For?        Bob:                Fifty years ago this week, five American missionaries were martyred by Quechua Indians in rural Ecuador.  Their deaths shook the world, but the legacy of their heroism continues to this day.  One of the people most profoundly impacted by those events 50 years ago this week is the widow of one of the martyred missionaries, Elisabeth Elliott, the wife of Jim Elliott.  As a young widow, she faced questions about the wisdom and the goodness of God, and she faced them head-on. Elisabeth:      Once upon a time, before you were born, there were, in Ecuador a tribe of so-called "savages."  Not very much was known about these people.  They were naked, they used stone tools, and they killed strangers.  One of the questions that people ask me more frequently than any other is how have you handled bitterness?  And usually they mean wasn't I bitter against God because of some of the things that have happened in my life.  Suffering is a gift.  Paul says, "Unto us it is given not only to believe but also to suffer."                         Is it worth it?  How many things can you think of that are worth suffering for?  He is Lord of my life, and when I asked Him, at the age of 12, to be Lord of my life, I turned over to Him all the rights.  There is nothing worth living for unless it's worth dying for. Bob:                And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition, Tuesday, January 3rd.  I don't know about the rest of our listeners, but just hearing that voice … Dennis:          You're speaking of Elisabeth Elliott. Bob:                Yeah.  She has always been somebody that – when I listen to her, I feel like I'm being encouraged and scolded kind of at the same time.  You know what I mean?  She just has that sense she's calling you to the highest that God would have for your life. Dennis:          She always did that in my life and, as you know, Bob, she has become a good friend of ours.  Elisabeth and her husband, Lars – well, she's just a great friend.  And what we wanted to do in featuring her on today's broadcast is take our listeners back some 50 years, because this Sunday, January 8th, is the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of five young men who, by faith, flew back into the jungle to lead an uncivilized tribe of people who had never heard the name of Jesus Christ, and who ultimately were murdered on behalf of their faith.  And Elisabeth Elliott, of course, is the widow of one of those men, Jim Elliott. Bob:                And as some listeners know, Elisabeth made the courageous decision many months after that, to go back into that jungle and to continue the work that her former husband had begun, and she helped to lead a number of those people to Christ including some of the men who had murdered her husband.  And with that historical perspective in mind, we thought it would be good today for our listeners to hear some of her reflections on her husband, his faith, his character, on that time in her life, and on her interaction with the Waodani tribe in Ecuador back in the late 1950s. Dennis:          I think it's going to be a spiritual wheel alignment for some of our listeners who are right now walking through a valley of sorts.  Maybe it's the valley of the shadow of death, maybe it's circumstances that can't be defined or explained or even understood after reading the Bible, but God can be trusted, and that's what you're going to hear from Elisabeth Elliott.                           A number of years ago, we had the privilege of interviewing her talking to single people, interestingly enough, about the quest for love, and in that interview, Bob, as you and I talked to her, she started talking about how she viewed those circumstances surrounding the loss of her husband.   Elisabeth:      In Deuteronomy 8, Moses is reviewing the history of the children of Israel, and he says, "He suffered you to hunger in order that He might know what was in your heart."  And you remember that the children of Israel were wailing and screaming and complaining because they didn't have the leeks and onions and garlic and watermelons and fish that they'd had back in Egypt, and they were sick and tired of this stuff they got every day – manna.  And it says that a company of strangers came in and said, in effect, "Is this all you've got here?"  And so instead of the Lord removing the desire for leeks and onions and garlic, He caused them to hunger for this purpose – that He might know what was in their hearts, and I don't know any situation in which we are more likely to find out what is really in our hearts than where we have been deprived of something that we thought we should have.  And, of course, I was deprived of my husband, Jim, and the Lord was saying to me, "Now I want you to glorify me as a single woman again, and I am giving you this gift, and I want you to fulfill this calling faithfully, gladly, and humbly."                           I would just get down on my knees and just say, "Lord, you know what my natural feelings are about this but, Lord, I have surrendered them all to you long ago.  It was when I was 12 years old that I prayed Betty Scott Stamm's prayer – "Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life in acceptance lieth peace," and I know that's true.  It happened again when Ad [ph] was taken from me.  He was prayed over, he was anointed, we had people coming from across the country telling me they had a word of knowledge that God wanted to heal Ad Leach.  He died, and the Lord is saying, "So here is the gift of widowhood again." Dennis:          One of the themes of your books that seems to be in all of them is the call for the Christian to endure in the midst of suffering.  You believe the Scripture calls us to remain faithful in the midst of circumstances that aren't working out to what we wish they would. Elisabeth:      Suffering is a gift, Dennis, it is a gift.  Paul says, "Unto us it is given not only to believe but also to suffer," and Jesus referred to the cup that my father has given me.  What was in that cup?  He was reviled, He was persecuted, He was hated, He was mocked, He was captured, He was flogged, He was blindfolded, He was stripped, and He was crucified.  That was the cup, and we know that his human nature was in agony over that.  He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood in Gethsemane and finally said, "Not my will," he said, "If it be possible, let this cup pass."  The cup didn't pass.  It wasn't possible because He could not save Himself and save you and me. Dennis:          One of the most memorable stories I've ever heard you tell is the story of Gladys Aylworth.  It illustrates what we're talking about here in a most profound way.  Would you share that with our listeners? Elisabeth:      Well, Gladys Aylworth was a London parlormaid with no education, and she believed that God was calling her to China, and when her brother found her studying a map, he said, "Well, Glad, where are we going?"  And she said, "To China."  And he said, "Glad, you must be out of your mind," and she said, "Jehovah God has spoken to me, and I am going to China.  Well," she said, "I didn't know where China was, but I got a map, and I studied."                         Then she tells the long story of how she took a train all the way across Europe and Russia and Mongolia and China, and she ended up standing on the wharf in Shanghai, and she said, "When I was a child, I had two great sorrows.  All my friends had beautiful golden curls, and mine was black.  And when all my friends were still growing, I stopped.  Well, I stood on a wharf, and I looked over all these people to whom Jehovah God had sent me, and every single one of them had black hair, and every single one of them had stopped growing when I did.  And I said, 'Lord God, you know what you're doing.'" Bob:                I just love hearing her. Dennis:          It's a great story.  In fact, that is one of my favorite stories because what she is illustrating there is what life is all about – are you going to trust Him that He really does know what He's doing when you are in the middle of circumstances that can't be explained humanly.  And Elisabeth Elliott, as she went through adulthood continued to find herself in unexplainable circumstances. Bob:                She married again.  Her husband, Ad – she was married to him for four years.  He developed cancer and died.  She was single again for a number of years until she married her third husband, Lars, and she often said that she was single more years in life than she was married.  She also often said that Lars hoped that he'd outlast the other husbands. Dennis:          And, you know, Bob, it was that aspect of Elisabeth Elliott that really resulted in me inviting her to come speak at a conference we had for singles.  It was called "The Keystone Caper." Bob:                This was more than 20 years ago, right? Dennis:          Right, right, in Keystone, Colorado.  It was over Thanksgiving, it was for singles, and I really had a passion for speaking to singles about giving their lives to Christ and then following Him as Elisabeth Elliott had done, and we actually went back into the archives and dusted off pieces of five messages she gave at the Keystone Caper back in the mid-'80s.  And, I'm telling you, it's just as relevant today as it was to those singles 20 years ago. Bob:                And she exhorted those singles to trust God to be Lord – that He is Lord, and you need to trust Him that He does know what He is doing, and she elaborated on the story that she'd told us in the studio about John and Betty Stamm and the impact they had had early on in her life. Elisabeth:      He is Lord of my life, and when I asked him, at the age of 12, to be Lord of my life, I turned over to Him all the rights.  I prayed a prayer written by a missionary to China, a woman by the name of Betty Scott Stamm.  But this prayer made a very deep impression on my life, and I copied it into my Bible, and it has become a part of my prayer life.  It's really just an expansion on those simple words in The Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done."                           "Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life.  I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.  Fill me with Thy Holy Spirit, use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever," and Betty Scott Stamm and her husband, John, were beheaded by Chinese Communists.  She had been a guest in our home.  You can imagine what a deep impression the news item made on a little child.  "Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost" – and if you and I could speak with John and Betty Stamm today, do you think they would be thankful for the ways of God with them?  Their praises would be ringing, no question about that.                         "He is Lord of my life, He holds all the rights" – when my husband, Jim Elliott, was killed, the words that came to my mind when I first knew that he was missing were from Isaiah 43, verse 2 – "When thou passes through the waters, I will be with thee."  And when, five days later, I learned that he was, in fact, dead, the words that came to me were from a poem that I had memorized many years before by F.W.H. Myers, a poem called "St. Paul," and the final stanza says this – "So through life, death, through sorrow and through sinning; Christ shall suffice me, for He has sufficed.  Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning.  Christ, the beginning for the end is Christ."                           My life verse is Philippians 1:21 – "To me, to live, is Christ." Bob:                You know, as Elisabeth commented on getting the news as a child that this couple that had been in their home had been beheaded as missionaries, she had no way of knowing that her own husband, years later, would be speared as a missionary; that this was going to be a part of the story of her life – this kind of heroic engagement, the surrendering of your life for the service of God.  It marked her life from an early age. Dennis:          And, Bob, the thing our listeners need to hear on this – I think there's two very, very important lessons to not miss.  Number one, life can't be found outside of the Lordship of Christ, period.  If you want to live life the way the Creator of the Universe designed it to be lived, it's lived submitted to Jesus Christ and His will for your life.  You're never going to find it anywhere else.                           I was just reflecting as I was listening to Elisabeth, I was thinking, I don't think we're talking enough about this.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I heard a message from Romans, chapter 12, verse 1 and 2, where it challenges us to not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and presenting yourself a living sacrifice to God, giving it all to Him, giving your life to Him, giving up all rights of your life to Him. Bob:                That's what sacrifice means.  You're dead to self and alive to Christ. Dennis:          And I think there is a need in our homes, husbands and wives, parent to child, to remind one another where life is found, and that leads me to the second point of application here.  I think our children need to be exposed to the great saints.  If you have a chance to have a missionary in your home, or a preacher, or someone who walks with God with great faith, seize that opportunity.  Don't go out to eat at a fast-food restaurant, don't go anywhere busy, go somewhere where you won't have any distractions, where you can have conversation for another hour after the meal is over, and don't let your kids go play Nintendo.  Even though they act like they won't be listening, they'll hear.                           And I think as a result of that, what will happen is what occurred in Elisabeth Elliott's life.  The children will be challenged to give their lives wholly and totally to the Lordship of Christ, and what will result there is when they grow up they will not waste their lives.  They will live their lives to the glory of God. Bob:                And this theme of the Lordship of Christ and abandoning your own life for His service was something that was a constant theme in Elisabeth Elliott's life.  Not only was it a life message because of what she had experienced with the martyrdom of her husband and the others back in 1956, but it was a theme that continued to permeate her ministry.  In fact, when we had her on FamilyLife Today a number of years ago, she reinforced again for us this idea that Lordship is everything.   Elisabeth:      Jesus said, "If you want to be My disciple – you don't have to be – but if you want to be, these are the conditions.  Number one, give up your right to yourself.  Now, of course, that's difficult.  It is the most difficult thing that God could ever ask of us, especially in today's climate, where everybody says, "It's your life, it's your body, you have a right to yourself, if it feels good do it, if it doesn't feel good forget it, don't let anybody tell you what to do," and Jesus quietly continues to say to us, "If you want to be My disciple, give up your right to yourself.  Secondly, take up the cross."                         Now, in what form is that going to be presented?  It is going to be presented in the form of suffering.  What else do we expect?  The cross is an instrument of torture.  Why should we be surprised?  So, of course, we are going to have to get down on our knees again and again and ratify that once-in-a-lifetime surrender.  As I said, I had made that surrender when I was 12 years old, but there isn't a day that goes by, Dennis, and I am not exaggerating – there's not a day that goes by in which I do not have to consciously take up the cross in some form or other – usually in many forms in any given day. Bob:                That's a great reminder from Elisabeth Elliott.  We, daily, have to take up our cross.  Dennis:          And, Bob, as she said, it has many forms, and yet it's still lived out in the midst of humanity.  You know, Bob, the reason we're talking about this 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of these five young men who gave their lives in Ecuador is because we want to, first of all, honor their faith and their courage, and Elisabeth Elliott and the other widows who embraced that trial as well.                         But there is a second aspect I don't want our listeners to miss because we have a number of singles who listen to this broadcast, a number of parents who are raising the next generation and, for that matter, we have some who are empty-nesters, who are in prime time, who I think need to take stock of their lives and evaluate how they are going to live the rest of their lives.                         And we want to challenge folks to consider – has he called you to invest your life in the mission field?  And it could be right where you're living.  You don't have to go around the world to Ecuador or into a jungle.  The jungle may be just down the street in a housing project near your home, or it may be in some areas of your community that just needs someone to reach out and touch marriages that are decaying and falling apart – or in your church.                         But let me tell you something – the needs of our nation in the spiritual realm are great, and today, more than ever, we need to be challenging adults as well as the parents who are raising the next generation.  Give your kids a picture of world missions, of what it means to go to the world, but the greatest news – forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ.  There is no greater privilege in life than giving your life for that cause. Bob:                I think you're right, we don't know what the Lord is going to call you to, whether it's here, whether it's there, but we do know what he's called all of us to, and it's what Elisabeth talked about today – to follow Him, to take up our cross, to die daily to our own flesh and our own desires. Dennis:          Then follow Christ. Bob:                To be about His mission, His agenda in the world today.  This past summer, I had my whole family watch with me the documentary that was made by the same company that produce the movie, "End of the Spear" that's coming out in a couple of weeks.  "End of the Spear" is a theatrical motion picture that is going to tell the story of the martyrdom of the missionaries.  It actually tells it from the perspective of the Waodanis, the tribe that did the spearing. Dennis:          Your children have to be old enough to read if they're going to go to the movie, because it's … Bob:                It's got subtitles.   Dennis:          Right.  It's not in English.   Bob:                But this summer, our family watched the documentary that was produced by the same company that tells the story of the martyrdom of the missionaries using historical archive video footage, photographs, interviews with those who were there, and it was a powerful evening.  We've got that documentary available on DVD.  It's called "Beyond the Gates of Splendor," and I'd encourage our listeners to get a copy of this DVD and to watch it as a family or to show it to the youth group at church, use it in a variety of settings.  It brings home the reality of what took place 50 years ago this week with the martyrdom of these missionaries.                           In addition, we have Elisabeth Elliott's book called "Through Gates of Splendor," which is her telling of that same story, which would be a book you could read to your children or a book that they could read on their own.  If you've never been acquainted with this story, maybe this is the first time you've heard about these events, Elisabeth's book is a classic.  It's one of those books that would be on my list of a book that every Christian ought to read.  Again, it's called "Through Gates of Splendor."  We have both her book and the DVD "Beyond the Gates of Splendor" in our FamilyLife Resource Center.                         Contact us by go online at FamilyLife.com.  Click on today's broadcast, and you'll find a link there to the various resources that are available.  You can order online, if you'd like, and if you order both Elisabeth's book and the DVD, we can send you at no additional cost the CD audio that includes the clips from Elisabeth Elliott we've been featuring here this week.                         Again, go to our website, FamilyLife.com, click on today's broadcast in the center of your screen, and that will take you right to the page where there is more information about the resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife Today.                         Let me, if I can, Dennis, just say a quick word of thanks to the folks we heard from at the end of the year.  Many of our listeners know we had a matching gift challenge in the month of December where every dollar we received was being matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to a total of $350,000, and I haven't seen the final numbers yet, but I do know we heard from many of our listeners, and I think it's safe to say at this point that we think we were able to take full advantage of that matching gift opportunity.  So thank you to those of you who called or who wrote or who donated online.  We appreciate your support, we appreciate you helping us meet the match, and we appreciate your ongoing investment in this ministry.                         Tomorrow we are going to be back with more insights from Elisabeth Elliott as she reflects on the events that took place 50 years ago this week with the martyrdom of five American missionaries.  I hope you can be back with us 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'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.                          FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. _______________________________________________________________We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you. However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website. If you've benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?Copyright © FamilyLife. All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com
A Life Worth Living (Part 2) - Elisabeth Elliot
Jan 5 2020
A Life Worth Living (Part 2) - Elisabeth Elliot
A Life Worth Living (Part 1) - Elisabeth ElliotA Life Worth Living (Part 2) - Elisabeth ElliotFamilyLife Today® Radio Transcript  References to conferences, resources, or other special promotions may be obsolete. A Life Worth LivingDay 2 of 2 Guest:            Elisabeth Elliott From the series:       Jim Elliott – "He is No Fool"        Bob:                This week on FamilyLife Today we are commemorating events that took place 50 years ago; events that shook a nation.  Here is Elisabeth Elliott. Elisabeth:      One day in October of 1955, Nate Saint flew into our station to tell us that he had discovered the Auca houses.  Within a very short time, Ed McCully, that politician from Wisconsin; Jim Elliott from Oregon; and Nate Saint instituted a program of dropping gifts to those Indians with the hope that they would be able to break down their hostility and prepare the way for an attempt to reach them.  You can imagine our excitement, our trembling, the prayers that went up.                         And on the evening in January of 1956, just before these men left to go into the edge of Auca territory – by this time they had been joined by Roger Youderian and Pete Fleming – they sang together that hymn – "We Rest on Thee, Our Shield and our Defender."  A week later they were all speared to death. Bob:                And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition – Wednesday, January 4th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey.  I'm Bob Lepine.  This Sunday, January 8, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the martyrdom of those missionaries in rural Ecuador, and, I don't know, do you remember where you were the first time you heard the story of those five missionaries? Dennis:          Bob, I was almost eight years old in Southwest Missouri, and I do not recall hearing about it as a little boy. Bob:                It did make the news. Dennis:          It did? Bob:                It was in "Life" magazine and other periodicals.  But you didn't hear about it until later in life? Dennis:          I heard about it finally in college, and it was through reading Elisabeth Elliott's book, "Through the Gates of Splendor," and, for me, as a college student, to get that book and have it be such a page-turner – I had just given my life to Christ, and I think what made it compelling reading for me, as a collegian, was that I was 20 years old, I was looking at life with eyes that were alive to the spiritual work of God in human beings' lives, and I had freshly given my life to Christ, and His Lordship of all the areas of my life, and so here is a couple, Jim and Elisabeth Elliott, who had given their lives to Christ and his Lordship, and Jim Elliott gave his life, literally, was martyred for his faith, and then Elisabeth, his wife, went into that tribe after he had been murdered by them to love them, speak with them, learn their language and customs and ultimately share her faith in the Gospel and his forgiveness with them. Bob:                That book that you mentioned, "Through Gates of Splendor," is a book that God has used over the years in remarkable ways to not only tell the story but to talk about what it really means to live with Christ as Lord, and I think it's probably stirred the hearts of a number of people who have ended up involved in world missions in some foreign field, carrying on the legacy of Jim Elliott and Nate Saint and the others who were killed on the beach on January 8, 1956. Dennis:          And I'm glad, Bob, there's now been a full-length feature movie that has been made called "The End of the Spear," that's going to be released here in a couple of weeks.  It's a great movie.  You and I have seen it together and, personally, I think what's going to happen as this film comes out is the very thing we've been talking about here – I think there's going to be a generation of young people who see this story and who, all of a sudden, start evaluating their faith.                           Now, I think adults are going to do the same, but I think there's going to be a generation of young people in youth groups, in junior high, high school, and college, and they're going to evaluate what they're living for and who they're living for.  And as a result, I think we're going to see a fresh crop of missionaries head to the world.  At least that's my prayer as this film comes out. Bob:                You were in the audience in Kansas City in 1983 when Elisabeth Elliott addressed a crowd of students who had assembled there for an event that Campus Crusade was sponsoring called "KC '83," and she talked about those five young men, who were all in their 20s.  They were at the beginning of their adult life, and they had headed off to the field.  She described their lives, and I think what she did was she painted a picture so that everyone in the audience could go, "That could be me."                           We wanted our listeners to hear how she described the lives of those five men who were martyred that day 50 years ago this week. Elisabeth:      Once upon a time, before you were born, there were in Ecuador, a tribe so-called "savages."  Not very much was known about these people.  They were naked, they used stone tools, and they killed strangers.  Nobody had ever gone into their territory and come out alive.  Missionaries had been praying that God would enable them someday to take the Gospel to these Aucas, but it had never happened, and it wasn't until 1956 that the first Operation Auca was attempted.                         Five young American men banded together to do this.  I want to tell you a little about who they were and how they got there.  First, there was Nate Saint from Philadelphia, one of the founders of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship.  He inaugurated the program of jungle flying in the Eastern jungle of Ecuador.  Pilots who have watched film footage of some of Nate's landings on those canyons of green trees in the jungle have said that it's impossible.  Nate was a genius; he was a rather slightly built blond guy with a terrific sense of humor; a creative imagination; and an almost fanatical discipline and caution as a flyer.                         Then there was Roger Youderian, a cowboy from Montana.  He went into World War II as a paratrooper; was wounded; and somehow he ended up in the Eastern jungle of Ecuador working with the Jivaros, those Indians that you've heard of who used to shrink people's heads and put them up on poles around their houses or wear them on their belts – really nice guys.                         The next man was Pete Fleming from Seattle, Washington, an earnest, scholarly type who had a master's degree in literature and planned on an academic career.  God had another plan for Pete, and Pete ended up in the jungle of Ecuador working with the Quichua Indians reducing their language to writing and beginning the rudiments of Bible translation.                         Ed McCully was a guy that I knew in college, and when I think back, there is hardly anybody who seemed less likely to me to become a missionary than Ed McCully.  He was handsome – good looks can open a lot of doors, but I don't think they'll get you very far on a mission field.  Doesn't it seem like kind of a waste?  I mean, here was this guy, six-feet-three, football player, track star, president of his class, and when the Hearst newspaper chain sponsored a nationwide oratorical contest, there were 20,000 entrants.  Just picture everybody that's at KC '83 entering that oratorical contest.  Ed McCully won first place.   He was smooth.  We thought he'd make a great politician.  That's what he was going to be.  He had charisma, and he went to law school.  But God changed his mind after he got into law school and somehow he, too, ended up in some God-forsaken corner of the Eastern jungle of Ecuador – again, a missionary to the Quichuas.  Why would a guy like that bury himself in the jungle?  Couldn't he find more fruitful ways to use his gifts?  All those talents that God had given him?  Wasn't that an awful waste?                         Well, yes, it was, if, what matters to you is self-image, fame, money, success, a terrible waste.  The backwoods isn't really a very auspicious place to pursue those kinds of things.                         Then there was the fifth man, one I got to know pretty well.  His name was Jim Elliott. Bob:                We're going to hear more from that message at KC '83 in just a few minutes but, of course, Jim Elliott, the one that Elisabeth got to know was her husband for a little more than two years.  He had been president of his class at Wheaton College.  He was from Portland, Oregon, and she tells the story of her romance and her marriage to Jim Elliott in her book, "Passion and Purity," which has been read by hundreds of thousands of people.                         But these five men – Jim and Roger and Pete and Ed and Nate – they are heroes, do you think? Dennis:          They are, and when Elisabeth Elliott spoke in KC '83, which was a gathering of college students from all across the country – it was spitting snow outside, but it was warm inside.  It was a huge, cavernous, almost like a warehouse, but they had set up this convention with Elisabeth Elliott speaking to these collegians, and she shared how these young men gave their lives for their faith. Elisabeth:      You don't just decide one Tuesday morning that you're going to be a hero of the faith.  There has to be a period, a long period, maybe years, of learning to walk humbly in obedience with God.  You put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, one day at a time, year after year beginning now.                         Is it worth it?  One day in October of 1955, Nate Saint flew into our station to tell us that he had discovered some Auca houses.  Within a very short time, Ed McCully, that politician from Wisconsin; Jim Elliott from Oregon; and Nate Saint instituted a program of dropping gifts to those Indians with the hope that they would be able to break down their hostility and prepare the way for an attempt to reach them.  You can imagine our excitement, our trembling; the prayers that went up.                         And on the evening in January of 1956, just before these men left to go into the edge of Auca territory – by this time they had been joined by Roger Youderian and Pete Fleming – they sang together that hymn "We Rest on Thee, Our Shield and our Defender."  A week later they were all speared to death. Man:               The Waodani are killing so many people, the government is under pressure.  They're going to bring in troops.  We have one chance to reach these people now – this is it. Man:               When a life is taken, we call it a tragedy. Child:              Will the Waodani attack?  Will you use your guns? Man:               My life is freely given, a sacrifice. Elisabeth:      Why?  Two of the men who killed them are friends of mine now.  Their names are Mincaye and Kekita [ph], and they made tapes for me telling me everything about what had happened that afternoon on the beach, and they said they thought the men were cannibals. Man:               Ninkiwi [ph] and the young woman that was there at the friendly contact, and Ninkiwi wanted to marry her.  Nampa [ph] really didn't want that to happen.  When they found them coming back from the friendly encounter, the tribe flew into a rage.  They wanted to kill Ninkiwi, Nampa certainly did.  The Akita [ph] saw this, the Ninkayani [ph] saw this, Jewi [ph] saw this, and they redirected the anger, which is something about their culture.  You get angry, you're out of control.  The way you affirm control is to kill.  So they redirected their anger toward the missionaries, and that was ultimately why they attacked and killed the five men. Elisabeth:      Why would God allow a thing like that to happen?  He was their shield, their defender, and He let them get speared to death.  What had happened?  Can your faith cope with a set of facts like this?  There is a mystery here, but it is not unprecedented.  Go back to Hebrews 11 – and following all those wonderful triumphant accounts, we read, "And others were tortured."  They faced jeers and flogging, fetters and prison bars, they were stoned, they were – listen to this – sawn in two.  Talk about endurance.                         Is it worth it?  Is it worth it?  How many things can you think of that are worth suffering for?  There is nothing worth living for unless it's worth dying for.  Have you made up your mind?  The world is stunned when the news of the death of the five men hit the headlines.  People did not know that there were still stone-age savages around.  I suppose that's one of the reasons they were impressed.  And then people realized that there could still be ordinary young men for whom obedience to Jesus Christ was quite literally a matter of life or death.                         There was plenty of editorializing about it.  The secular press called the blankety-blank fools.  The Christian press did a lot of very glib explaining of why God would allow a thing like this to happen.  The verse that brought assurance to me was 1 John 2:17 – "The world in all its passionate desires will one day disappear, but the man who is following the will of God is part of the permanent and cannot die." Bob:                As Elisabeth was retelling the story of the death of those missionaries, we included some of the sound track that comes from the movie, "End of the Spear," that's being released – I think it's two weeks from Friday the movie is going to be released, and that movie portrays the events of 1956 and actually takes you back before 1956 to tell about the Waodani tribe and then brings it up to date.  It brings you to the point where Steve Saint, one of the children of those martyred missionaries goes back and makes contact with the tribe and finds out how the spearing took place, why it took place, and actually finds out who it was that killed his father, and that man becomes his friend.  That man is now a Christian.  It's a powerful story. Dennis:          Steve Saint ended up going back to live among that tribe as well.  Frankly, Bob, you and I have interviewed a lot of folks where you just kind of feel like, you know, I felt unworthy.  I've given my life to following Christ in 35 years of vocational ministry, but you meet somebody like that, who left the comfort of living on the East Coast and taking his family and going back into the jungles of Ecuador and living with the tribe and, as you said, befriending the man who ended up murdering his father is just a remarkable story of faith.                         One of the things we've done is we've put together, from a number of sources, some of the descriptions about Jim Elliott by his wife, Elisabeth, and his faith, and we thought you'd enjoy hearing this montage of audio clips, as Elisabeth Elliott describes the man who gave his life for Christ. Bob:                And our intent here is not to single out one of the five missionaries, but because of her writing and speaking, we probably know more about Jim than we do the other four.  But, again, all five of them are heroic and courageous. Elisabeth:      I want to tell you a little bit about that missionary, Jim Elliott.  I knew him when he was a college student.  He had made up his mind that he wanted two degrees – a bachelor of arts, which the college was qualified to confer; and an AUG, which the college was not qualified to confer.  The one he wanted most was AUG, "Approved Unto God."  He got that out of the Apostle Paul's letter to Timothy, and he had made up his mind what he wanted to live for.                         Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured a cross.  Making light of its disgrace and has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God.  He made Himself nothing.  Jim Elliott wrote in his diary when he was 22 – "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."  Were those men really out of their tree to do what they did?  In Hebrews 12 it says, "What of ourselves?  With all these witnesses surrounding us like a cloud, we must throw off every encumbrance, every sin to which we cling, and run with resolution the race for which we are entered, our eyes fixed on Jesus on whom faith depends from start to finish.                         Jim Elliott was a man with tremendous gifts; a man who could undoubtedly have been a great success in probably quite a few different professions; a man whose friends and relatives thought he was crazy to go burying himself in some God-forsaken corner of the jungle just to talk to a few ignorant Indians when he had such a powerful testimony and a great "ministry" in this country among young people.  But Jim's life was not his own.  The verse that he wrote in my yearbook was 2 Timothy 2:4 – "A soldier on active service does not entangle himself in civilian affairs.  He must be wholly at his commanding officer's disposal."  Him was disposable.                         And here is the crux of the matter – and, by the way, did you know that the word "crux" means cross?  Did you know that the word "crucial" comes from the same root?  Until the world and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone to accept His Lordship.                         God is saying, "I have something infinitely better for you than you can imagine.  Will you trust me?  Will you wait?  Will you obey me?"                         Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes and accept Thy will for my life.  I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.  Fill me with Thy Holy Spirit, use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever."                         What do you live for? Bob:                Once again, that's Elisabeth Elliott reflecting on her husband, Jim, who, along with four other men, was martyred in 1956, 50 years ago this week, and we felt like it was important for listeners to hear that story again, maybe some for the first time.  There are probably some folks who have been unaware of this story and will want to get either a copy of Elisabeth's book, the one that you read when you were in college, "Through Gates of Splendor," or the DVD of the documentary that is called "Beyond the Gates of Splendor."  We have both the book and the DVD in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and the easiest way for listeners to become acquainted with all that took place in those events is to get the book and get the DVD.                         You can go to our website, FamilyLife.com, click where it says "Today's Broadcast," right in the center of your screen, and that should take you to a page where you can get more information about these resources.  And if you order both the book and the DVD, we'll send you at no additional charge, the CD audio that features the excerpts we've been listening to this week from Elisabeth Elliott.                           Again, our website is FamilyLife.com, click the button in the middle of the screen that says "Today's Resources," and go there to find out more about the documentary, "Beyond the Gates of Splendor," about the book, "Through Gates of Splendor," and there is a link on our website as well that will give you more information about the movie that's coming out in a couple of weeks called "End of the Spear."  You can watch a trailer for that movie, get more information about the release of it.  I think it is January 20th that it's going to be in theaters, and we hope families will attend that movie, "End of the Spear."  1-800-FLTODAY or, again, the website is FamilyLife.com.                         And, once again, Dennis, I want to say thank you, I know you do as well, to those folks who pitched in at year-end and made a contribution to us here at FamilyLife.  We heard from many of our listeners, and I know our team is still going through and trying to open up some of the mail that we received so that we can issue a formal thank-you note to those of you who contributed at year-end to FamilyLife Today.  We really do appreciate your generosity, and I think it is safe to say at this point that we were successfully able to meet the match and take full advantage of the $350,000 match that we had in December – so thanks to all of you who pitched in.  We appreciate you standing with us and appreciate your ongoing support of this ministry.  Thanks for helping keep us on the air here in this city and in cities all across the country.                         Tomorrow we have a special guest joining us.  He is the son of one of the men who was martyred as a missionary 50 years ago this week.  Steve Saint is going to be with us along with the man who helped make the movie that tells the story of Steve's dad's martyrdom, the movie, "End of the Spear," Mart Green, is going to be here as well.  And we have a surprise guest who is going to be here with them, and we hope you can be back with us.                         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'll see you next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.                          FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. ______________________________________________________________We are so happy to provide these transcripts for you. However, there is a cost to transcribe, create, and produce them for our website. If you've benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?Copyright © FamilyLife. All rights reserved. www.FamilyLife.com