From the FamilyLife Today vault, hear some of Bob Lepine's best pastoral messages, both behind the mic, and behind the podium of a local church.
From the FamilyLife Today vault, hear some of Bob Lepine's best pastoral messages, both behind the mic, and behind the podium of a local church.
Bob: Most of our regular listeners probably don’t know this, but there are times when I revert to my alter ego.
Dennis: Dr. Love.
Bob: You can chart the entire trajectory of a marriage relationship through pop songs from the ’60s and the ’70s. It starts with, “The first time ever I saw your face,” “You’re just too good to be true—I can’t take my eyes off of you,” “You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of—I knew it from the start—I saw your face and that’s the last I’ve seen of my heart.” [Laughter] “My friends say I’m acting wild as a bug; I’m in love, I’m all shook up. Hey, hey, hey.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, December 27th. Our host is Dennis Rainey and I'm Bob Lepine. If you recognize any of those song lyrics that means you have some miles on you, like I have on me. If you don’t, stick around; it’ll all become clear over the course of the next half-hour. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition.
Dennis: Did you give anything good for Christmas, Bob?
Bob: Did I give anything good?
Dennis: Yes—not get—did you give anything really cool that you can now brag about on the air?
Bob: I always give lovely gifts to my family members, but I would prefer that they brag about them rather than me bragging about them.
Keith: Bob got me an awesome set of headphones.
Bob: I did get Keith a nice set of headphones for Christmas.
Dennis: That is noble.
Bob: Actually, they’re earbuds and I got them on an airplane. [Laughter] I was flying somewhere—
Dennis: Two bucks!
Bob: No, they were free—they were handing them out for free!
Keith: He told me they were exclusive!
Dennis: Did he give you the peanuts that go with them?
Bob: I did not. I ate the peanuts myself. [Laughter] We’re headed toward the end of the year—we’ve heard from a lot of our listeners over the last couple of weeks, but this is a critical couple of days for us here at FamilyLife®.
It really is going to set the tone for what 2018 looks like.
Dennis: Yes. I just have to read a couple of comments from listeners. “I believe in your mission and know that marriage relationships are being challenged by many outside forces, and there are few that really do care.”
Bob, you and I are one of them. Here on FamilyLife Today, we care about what happens to folks’ marriages, families, legacies—and we’re all about equipping them with the Scriptures. If you believe in that mission, then we’d invite you—in fact, I’d challenge you—stand with us here at the end of this year in our matching challenge as we seek to get ready for 2018 and stand strong financially.
Bob: You can donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to give. We have folks ready to take your call. Again, please pray for these last few days—that we would be able to take full advantage of the matching gift opportunity that is in front of us.
We’ve been spending some time this year reflecting on 25 years of FamilyLife Today. We reached that milestone back last month, and there have been occasions in the history of this program where the tables have been turned, and instead of me asking you questions you’ve asked me questions and put me on the spot. In fact, one of those times was early on. This was back in 1994—
Dennis: —when you had all the answers.
Bob: I didn’t have all the answers. Here’s what I had: I had a wife at home who was pregnant, expecting our fifth child, and we talked about how a husband and a dad can be engaged in the process when a wife is going through a pregnancy.
Dennis: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. My name is Dennis Rainey, and we’d like to welcome you to this broadcast on FamilyLife Today. Today—in the studio—we have a very special guest. You hear him chuckling in the background.
Dennis: That’s not the voice of Elvis, folks—that’s my friend and co-host here on FamilyLife Today, Bob Lepine.
Bob, there were some news recently in your life that really has put a cramp in your style—it’s going to further alter your style—that really is the source of what we want to talk about today. What is that news, and what do we want to talk about?
Bob: Well, that news has to do with college tuition in the year 2010 and how much it’s going to cost and who we’re going to be sending at that point. Let me tell you how this all came about.
Dennis: Yes—do that why don’t you?
Bob: We became suspicious a few months ago that Mary Ann might—in fact—be pregnant. Now, we did what every American couple does when you are suspicious of such a thing—we went straight to the Walmart and bought one of those eight-dollar— nine-dollar tests that is going to confirm it for you one way or another. We were on a Wednesday night shopping trip, and she had the pregnancy test there in her purse, and we went into the next store, and I said, “Why don’t you just go into the ladies’ room here and let’s get this thing over with?
“I mean, why wait until we get home? Let’s solve it once and for all.”
Dennis: You didn’t really do that.
Bob: We really did! I went and browsed through the book section while Mary Ann went into the ladies’ room, and I just waited for her come out and either confirm or deny our suspicions. She motioned to me as she came out of the ladies’ room and said, “Come here, honey.” She showed me the instructions and said, “See, there will be a red stripe in this line if in fact I’m pregnant.” I said, “Yes.” And then she showed me the test, and there was the red stripe right there in that line. And the news was hatched that baby Lepine—
Dennis: —number five.
Bob: —number five—will be born sometime in August of 1994.
Dennis: Bob, I want you to help dads with just a couple of application points to really move toward fatherhood expectantly and believing God to use us in his life.
Bob: I would encourage couples to wrestle with the kinds of issues we’ve been talking about before the happy day arrives.
If you can—do it before you find out you’re pregnant—but if you’ve found out your pregnant, wrestle with them now, because you’re going to be taxed to the limit on issues like selfishness and how you’re going to deal with materialism. I’d encourage dads—and again—dads ought to be the leaders in this area.
They ought to be the instigators and the pro-visionaries who say to their wives, “Honey, let’s go out this Friday night and let’s sit down and let’s talk through issues about, “How do we feel about children? How many do we think we want? What was it like when you were growing up? What were the good memories? What did you learn from your childhood that you want to replicate with our kids? What did you learn from your parents or from observing other parents that you want to try to make sure we don’t replicate in the lives of our kids?”
Start developing a strategy—a mindset—an orientation—toward, “How will we be as parents?”
Do it as far ahead of the curve as you can, and it is—
Dennis: Okay, okay, okay. Hold it—hold it—hold it!
Bob: Am I starting to preach?
Dennis: You’re starting to get on the soapbox, and we’re out of time today; we have to come back tomorrow—you will come back tomorrow now; won’t you?
Bob: I think I’m required to, yes. [Laughter]
Dennis: Our guest on the broadcast today has been Bob Lepine, and this is your host—
Bob: Now wait—wait, wait, wait.
Dennis: —Dennis Rainey.
Bob: Let me take over at this point, okay?
Dennis: Okay. Details, details!
Bob: I mentioned a resource on the program today—
Bob: You know—listening to that, Dennis, here’s what’s interesting—I’ve spend the last year working on a video series that’ll be coming out here in a few months on the Art of Parenting™, and it’s all about the need for parents to be purposeful and intentional as they raise the next generation, because too many of us as moms and dads—we’re not thinking long-term, we’re just thinking, “How do I get through this day—or this week?” rather than thinking, “What’s the end product I’m aiming for, and how do I be intentional in raising my child in that direction?”
Dennis: Parenting is not a la carte—it is having an overall plan and knowing where you’re headed. The Art of Parenting is going to give you that. We believe couples need help in four areas: helping their child discover his or her identity, helping them develop relationships, their character—and finally, their mission. If you get those four things in proper balance and keep them in front of you, your children are going to benefit—especially if your playbook—if the blueprints that you’re speaking from—are the Scriptures.
Bob: You and Barbara are writing a book on this right now. The video series comes out this year, and we’re hoping to impact millions of parents around the world with a strategy for how to raise the next generation. So again, we’ll tell you more about that in the months to come on FamilyLife Today.
I had the opportunity a few years after we recorded that to write a book called The Christian Husband. When that book came out, you interviewed me for a couple of days on a husband’s responsibility in a marriage relationship—
—and one of the things we talked about was what it means for a husband to love his wife the way Christ loves the church. What does that love look like in practical terms? Here’s how we addressed that.
Bob: The writer Ray Lauren said, “What good is patience and kindness,” —the things that 1 Corinthians 13 has been talking about—“what good is generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good-nature, charitableness, sincerity—all of these qualities, what good are they unless they continue?” Most of us can be kind of a day, but love is kindness that endures.
Bob: Most of us can be patient for a while, but love is patience that endures. When the Bible says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things,” it says love goes the distance.
It’s really what the preacher tried to say when he said the vows. He said, “Are you in this for sickness or for health? Are you in this for better or for worse? Are you in this for richer or for poorer? Are you going the distance on this? Will your love continue in the face of adversity?”
That’s what I think Paul’s summing it up with. He’s saying real love doesn’t change when the circumstances around it change—real love stays with it, even when the circumstances are fighting against that feeling, are fighting against the flesh. Real love bears, believes, hopes, and endures—and that’s what a husband has to do. He has to endure. His wife needs him to provide that kind of commitment, stability, and certainty in their marriage that says, “I’m going to love you no matter what you do—no matter what the circumstances are. I’m here for you—and for us—for good.”
Dennis: That’s Bob Lepine talking about his book, The Christian Husband. I’m listening to you, Bob, and I’m thinking, “You know what?” Those words were practical—they were wise—and they were stout back in 1999. They’re still relevant today—and that book is relevant as well.
Bob: Well, if what you’re talking about is anchored in Scripture, then—
Dennis: —it’s going to be.
Bob: —it’s going to be relevant a hundred years from now—a thousand years from now—because the Word of God is living and active. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word endures forever. That’s been one of the things here at FamilyLife that we’ve tried to make sure we’re doing—pointing people to something that is transcendent—that’s not culturally relevant—but something that’s eternally relevant. I’ve had people who have asked me, “How did you get so smart when it comes to marriage and family issues?”
I actually explained that to our listeners when they joined us at an event that we hosted. I explained where all my wisdom on marriage and family came from.
Bob: I’m here tonight, ladies and gentleman, as Dr. Love—to give you my prescription for how to deal with romance—how to bring back the romance into your romance-tired blood. Now listen to me—some of you, I know, are wondering, “Dr. Love, where did you get your wisdom on romance?” Everything I learned on romance I learned from pop songs in the ’60s and the ’70s. [Laughter]
You can chart the entire trajectory of a marriage relationship through pop songs from the ’60s and the ’70s. It starts with, “The first time ever I saw your face,” “You’re just too good to be true—I can’t take my eyes off of you,” “You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of—I knew it from the start—I saw your face and that’s the last I’ve seen of my heart.” [Laughter]
“Bless my soul, what’s wrong with me?—I’m itching like a man on a fuzzy tree.”
[Laughter] “My friends say I’m acting wild as a bug—I’m in love, I’m all shook up. Hey, hey, hey.” [Laughter] “Why do birds suddenly appear—Every time you’re near?” “Something tells me I’m into something good. Could it be I’m falling in love?” “You see this guy, this guy’s in love with you. And it’s more than a feeling, you’re more than a woman—I love you more than I can say. Whoa, whoa, hey, hey.” [Laughter]
Now, “You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait—And I’m talking about moving in and I don’t want to change your life—But there’s a warm wind blowing, the stars are out—
And I’d really love to see you tonight. She loves you, yes, yes, yes.”
“Oh baby, I love your way—I want to be with you night and day. You asked me if there’ll come a time—When I grow tired of you; never, my love. I can see me loving nobody but you—For all my life. We’re going to the chapel and we’re going to get married—
Going to the—” What? “—Chapel of love.” “We’ve only just begun to live—Always and forever, babe. I got you, babe—” Yes, you’ve got it.
“Every day with you, girl—Is sweeter than the day before; I love you more today than yesterday—But not as much as tomorrow. Love will keep us together.” “Don’t go changing to try to please me—I love you just the way you are.” “Maybe if I make you mad with something—I might have said please; Forget the past, the future looks bright ahead. Don’t be cruel.” “You have to change you evil ways, baby—" [Laughter] “Before I stop loving you. You’re nothing but a hound dog.” [Laughter]
“No, let’s hang onto what we’ve got—Don’t let go, girl; We got a lot of love between us—Hang on, hang on, hang on to what we’ve got. Woo, woo, woo, woo.” “Baby, where did our love go? You don’t bring me flowers—
“—You don’t sing me love songs—“ “You’ve lost that loving feeling—Now it’s gone, gone, gone. Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Yes, you’ve got it! [Laughter]
“I’m all out of love—“ “Bye-bye, love—Bye-bye, happiness—Hello loneliness—I think I’m going to cry.” [Laughter]
“Breaking up is hard to do—It’s too late, baby—No, it’s too late—But we really did try to make it.” “I’m almost over you—Alone again, naturally—“ “One is the loneliest number—That you’ll ever do—“ “And I’ll never fall in love again.”
Dennis: Dr. Love.
Bob: Yes, those song lyrics from the ’60s and the ’70s—anymore, if I am speaking to a group—I don’t use that unless the group is people as old as me.
Dennis: A little older. But you know what you’re pointing out, Bob, is the culture sends certain messages about love and commitment and marriage. We need—as never before—the biblical blueprints—
—and we need to hear what God has said about what real love is and how real love operates between two broken—selfish—and even sinful man and woman. How does that work in a marriage relationship?
Bob: There’s a foundation to all of this that is essential. I had the opportunity to speak to our staff and to talk about the fact that we have to make sure that we are clear and accurate when we present the truth about the Gospel. If we’re going to provide any real help for marriage or for parenting, we have to make sure that that help is anchored in what the Scripture teaches and in the message of the Gospel.
I quoted at length from an article I read that has impacted me as much as anything that I’ve ever read. This was actually written by J.I. Packer back in 1959. He wrote the preface for a re-release of a book from John Owen, called The Death of Death in the Death of God.
In that introduction J.I. Packer said the problem is that our message—the Gospel message—which is about God sending His Son to redeem and reconcile men, to bring them forgiveness of sin, and to give them new life. He said that message has fallen on hard times because—instead of it being a God-centered message—it has become a man-centered message. Instead of it being about Jesus, it’s become about us, and that’s where the problem is.
Bob: “If we go to the root of the matter, we shall find that these perplexities are ultimately due to our having lost our grip on the biblical Gospel.” He said, “Without realizing it, we have—during the past hundred years—bartered the biblical Gospel for a substitute product, which although it looks similar enough in points of detail is, as a whole, a decidedly different thing.” Hear what he’s saying.
The Gospel that we’re proclaiming, he said, is a substitute gospel—it’s not the biblical Gospel.
He went on to explain. He said, “This new substitute and counterfeit gospel fails to make men God-centered in their thinking and God-fearing in their hearts.” I love that phrase, because what the Gospel ought to do is make you God-centered in your thinking and God-fearing in your hearts. He said what we’re preaching today as the gospel is not doing that, and I would suggest to you that when we stop and think about how we proclaim the Gospel, it’s ultimately about that end: do we make people God-fearing in their hearts and God-centered in their thinking?
He goes on to say, “One way of stating the difference between the old Gospel and the new gospel is to say that the new gospel is too exclusively concerned with being helpful to men—bringing them peace, comfort, happiness, and satisfaction—and too little concerned with glorifying God.”
He said the message that we’re preaching is too focused on man and his need and not focused enough on God and His glory. “The old Gospel,” he says, “was helpful, too; more so, indeed, than the new, but its first concern was always to give glory to God.”
He goes on to say, “It was always and essentially a proclamation of divine sovereignty and mercy and judgment.” “The old Gospel,” he says, “was always about proclaiming first and foremost that here is a sovereign who shows divine mercy and judgment, and it was a summons to bow down and worship the mighty Lord on whom we depend for good, both in nature and grace.” The center of its reference—the old Gospel, when you talked about it—the center of its reference was unambiguously God, but in the new gospel the center of the reference is unashamedly man.
What he’s saying is there’s a difference between a man-centered gospel and a God-centered Gospel, and a man-centered gospel is no gospel at all—it is deficient in its presentation—it’s a substitute or a counterfeit. And, as he says, a half-truth is really an untruth—it’s no truth at all. He said by being too focused on man, his need, his focus, and making him the center of the Gospel has been what has taken us off-course and caused a lack of evangelism—a lack of holiness, all of the maladies in the church.
He goes on to say, “The chief aim of the old Gospel was to teach people to worship God. The concern of the new gospel seems limited to making them feel better. The subject of the old Gospel was God and His ways with men—the subject of the new gospel is man and the help God gives him.” See the difference?
There is a world of difference, he says—the whole perspective and emphasis of the Gospel preaching has changed.
“To recover the old, authentic, biblical Gospel and to bring our preaching and practice back in line with it is perhaps the most pressing need of our day.” That was Packer’s conclusion, and I would say today the same is true.
Bob: Again, hard to believe he wrote that in 1959, but it is the case again today—that we’ve lost our focus on the centrality of God and put man at the center of the universe, and that messes up your thinking.
Dennis: It does. We’re calling people away from focusing on self and living life your way—the way you want to live—and challenging you to pick up a new way—the way of the Scriptures. Jesus Christ called you and me to pick up our cross and follow Him and deny yourself and to fulfill His will for your life. It’s all about making God the center of your life and thinking rightly about who He is.
Bob: Well, and that has been the foundation of what FamilyLife has been about for more than four decades now and—as we head into the New Year—that continues to be our foundation.
Dennis: Bob, in order to move forward we need folks standing with us—alongside us financially—giving us the resources to be able to syndicate and produce and broadcast this program across the country, and to look to the new year and tackle some of the most important issues we could possibly take on, which is the Art of Parenting.
We want to equip a generation of parents—one million parents—with the biblical blueprints of how to go about raising the next generation, and sending an arrow. Children are described in Psalm 127:4 as “arrows in the hand of a warrior.” That’s quite a mighty picture. It’s a man on a mission, a warrior—but he’s launching the arrows into battle. That’s what we have to be about today.
If you’re not launching your child into battle, more than likely your child’s going to be a casualty of the battle. So if you agree with our mission of effectively developing godly marriages and families who aren’t focused inwardly but they’re focused outwardly on changing the world one home at a time, would you stand with us—and stand with us generously—here at year’s end?
Bob: Yes—we hope you will—and we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for you to do that. It’s simple to go online at FamilyLifeToday.com and make an online donation. You can also call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate, or you can mail your donation to FamilyLife Today at Box 7111, Little Rock, Arkansas; our zip code is 72223.
I think there are still matching funds available, so when you make your donation today that donation is going to be effectively doubled because of the generosity of friends who have put the matching fund together.
So, we hope to hear from you—help us have a strong end of the year—and help us get ready to do even more in 2018.
And we hope you will join us back again tomorrow, when we’re going to hear from some of the guests who have joined us over the last 25 years—who share with us the scars that they bear from tragedy and trauma in their lives—and how God has turned those scars into holy scars. 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; a Cru® ministry.
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