A Tree Firmly PlantedJanuary 25, 2007
On today's broadcast, popular author and pastor Crawford Loritts shares biblical truths from Psalm 1.
On today's broadcast, popular author and pastor Crawford Loritts shares biblical truths from Psalm 1.
A Tree Firmly Planted
Bob: If you're a parent, you're a leader. Whether you know it or not, your children are watching you, they're imitating you, they're following you. Here with a thought on leadership is Dr. Crawford Loritts.
Crawford: I'll give you this for nothing – there are four things that you will find in common about the person that God uses in leadership in Scripture – and none of it has to do with personality – not one of them has to do with personality. Just because some big-name person says something that has sold a few million books does not necessarily mean that it's deeply rooted in truth.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, January 25th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. If you want to find out what the four things are, stay with us as we hear from Dr. Loritts today.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on Thursday edition. We are listening together this week to a message from our friend, Dr. Crawford Loritts, that is a great reminder for us of the importance of our role as parents.
Dennis: That's right. It's being a model to our kids and hanging tough and not giving up, not giving in when the pressures to conform are all around us. In fact, I think sometimes, Bob, that adult peer pressure has a greater impact on our children than does the peer pressure they experience in their youthful teenage years growing up.
Bob: Are you talking about the peer pressure that parents feel when they watch other parents decide this or that with their kids?
Dennis: That, and peer pressure at work, peer pressure in their neighborhoods, peer pressure at church, to have things, go places, do things. I was talking with a businessman today who has a Bible study with a half a dozen men, and these are guys that are all well-oiled, financially speaking, and yet their lives are so filled with things that they can't begin to truly have an impact for Jesus Christ they're so busy keeping their stuff going, their things going. And you wonder what kind of Christianity they're modeling to their children.
And I think it's a good question for all of us to push back and ask – is the kind of Christianity that I have, the practice of my walk with God, one that, if I could pass on my relationship with God today to my kids, and my child could never experience anything more than what I have today, would you be satisfied with passing that on to your children?
That's a good question. That's a tough question, but yet it's a relevant question that we ought to ask as we attempt to impact the next generation for Christ and raise them to know God, obey God, and be the next generation to carry the torch of the Gospel.
Bob: One thing that I've said to dads at the FamilyLife Marriage Conferences, that our children will listen to what we say, and they will do what we tell them, but they will become who we are so that we can maybe modify their behavior when they're young. But if we want to shape their lives, it begins by being men of integrity, women of integrity, who model godliness, and that's what we're going to hear about today.
Dennis: Yeah, and I'm so glad I had a dad who shaped my life as a young man, and one whose integrity I still draw from as an adult. And Dr. Crawford Loritts had a similar experience with his dad, although Crawford grew up in a totally different neighborhood than I did. I grew up in the hills of southwest Missouri, in the Ozarks, a town of 1,300 people. Crawford Loritts grew up in Newark, New Jersey, in the streets of the heart of a bustling city, and he had a dad, though that built into his life and who left a deep well, a reservoir for Crawford to draw from that impacted his life.
In fact, that's the subject of a book that Crawford has written about his lessons that he's learned from his dad called "Never Walk Away."
Bob: And at the end of the broadcast, I'll let our listeners know how they can get a copy of what is an excellent book.
Dennis: Crawford and his wife, Karen, live in Atlanta, Georgia. Crawford is a good friend of mine. They both have been speaking at the FamilyLife Marriage Conference for a number of years. They have four children. Crawford preaches and writes and speaks across the country on subjects that are close to God's heart and from the Scripture. Today we have a tremendous opportunity to hear the second part of a message on the profile of a godly parent from Psalm, chapter 1.
Crawford: (From audiotape.) The psalmist begins by giving us the profile of who we, as parents – and even if you're single, you have influence on other children – you may become spiritual parents – but who we need to be.
The very first psalm deals with a profile of godliness, and I want to make comments on verses 1, 2, and 3. There are three things that the psalmist says. He talks about the godly person's resolve, he talks about the godly person's resource, and, thirdly, he talks about the godly person's result or what it looks like. And I want you to notice in verse 1 he says, "How blessed is the man or woman who does not."
Now, notice the juxtaposition of those terms. In the Hebrew idiom, the expression "blessed" could be "happy," "fulfilled," it could have been translated in any one of those words – happy, fulfilled, complete. Happy fulfilled, blessed is a person who does not. Blessed does not. Blessed does not.
They are divine paradoxes. The way that happiness and wholeness theologically in terms of sanctification throughout the Bible always has to do with self-denial.
Fulfillment is not the product from a biblical perspective of pursuing what you like to do. By the way, be very careful of that, this whole pursuit of fulfillment is not a biblical concept. In fact, Paul told Timothy not to get fulfillment from your ministry but to fulfill your ministry. The calling transcends how you feel. It is not whether God reduces His standards to meet our personal fulfillment needs, but He says, "If I call you to do something, what are you willing to sacrifice to get it done?"
The issue is on the calling. The issue is not on my fulfillment, and we need to be extremely careful that we don't prostitute God by bringing Him down to our level of puny expectations and comfort. What you get might be a ministry, but you won't have a movement, and God is not about the business of building ministries. He's about the business of accomplishing a movement. And a movement presupposed sacrifice. And the calling card of people who accomplish great things for God has to do with their personal degree of holiness. That's what we've been talking about – how blessed is the one who does not.
He makes some choices, she makes some choices, and notice there are three dominant choices, there are three dominant verbs in verse 1 – "How blessed is the man who does not walk – underscore that verb – who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked – walk in the counsel of the wicked. This has to do with worldview, it has to do where you get your source of information in terms of how you live your life. It has to do with the ability to think in a discriminating way. Who are you listening to? Where are you getting your advice? Does what other people say – does it square with what this Book says?
There is a lot of worldly counseling that has evangelical clothing on. Don't think just because someone is prominent and popular and articulate and smooth and can pragmatically get results, that what they are saying is deeply rooted in the Scriptures. Don't make that assumption. That's terrible. Just because some big-name person says something that has sold a few million books does not necessarily mean that it's deeply rooted in truth.
A lot of us have a lot of baggage that we carry with us that we've been taught in our secular universities. If I had a little bit more time, I'd talk about our convoluted thinking about the will of God, for example, and how we view leadership. By the way, God could care less about your personality profile. There is not a particular personality that God uses in leadership in the Bible, you will never find it, whether you're high DI, high S, or high C, it's not there.
I'll give you this for nothing – there are four – there are only four things that you will find in common about the person that God uses in leadership in the Scripture, and none of it has to do with personality, not one of them has to do with personality.
Here they are – brokenness; secondly, communion, and by that I mean there is a special degree of interaction; thirdly, servanthood, not as an activity but as an identity; and, fourthly, radical, complete obedience. You study leadership in the Scriptures, and those will be the four things you see consistently.
"Doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked," who are you listening to? Let me hustle on here. "Does not walk in the counsel of the wicked" – now the second dominant verb – this is the second resolve – "Happy is the one who does not nor stand in the path of sinners," or "stand in the way," the King James says.
Now, this does not mean that the godly person does not resolve – or does not associate with sinful people. No, that's not the way this is to be read. This has more to do with lifestyle issues. It does not go along with the lifestyle choices of sinful people. And I want to plead with you, I want to plead with you to turn it up another notch. Be careful about what you say, be careful about your casual comments about other people.
See, some of us, it's not lust, and it's not lying. We just talk too blasted much. And we sin. Watch yourself, watch, be careful what you look at. I don't know what the path of sinners means for you, but we need to make some choices about our lifestyle. It's not how close to sin we can get, but it's how close we can get to the throne.
What's your spiritual address? And don't wander too far away from there. Don't walk in the path of sinners.
Number three, "Nor sit in the seat of scoffers." Sit in the seat of scoffers. I wish I had a little more time. You know, the word "scoffing" is interesting. Go to the Book of Proverbs and study "fools." Scoffing is associated with the activity of a fool. Scoffing, you know, this word could have been translated and not been too far off. It could have been translated as "cynical." "Nor sit in the seat of the cynics." And I like that play on terms – sit in the seat of cynics. It's been my observation that most critical, cynical people don't get much done.
And the problem is, with those of us who have experience in ministry, we can be very strategic and sanitary about our criticism. Be careful of that. We don't have time. The vision is too big, the needs are too great. Families are crumbling all around us. We don't have time to be cynical.
The resolve of a godly person – doesn't walk, doesn't stand, doesn't sit. What is his resource, first two. But contrast – how blessed is the man does not – well, here is what he does – "But his delight is in the law of the Lord." Hallelujah.
You know, people have said some very nice things about me. They've said some nasty things, too, through the years, but they've said some nice things about me. I am not a very gifted person. I am not, but I love this Book. If anything has ever happened in my life – it's been this Book. Don't wander from it. Our delight, his delight, is in the law of the Lord. That's a word meaning, obviously, the Word of God. They didn't have the New Testament canon completed or written at that point or even some of the prophets, by this juncture, but the delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day – and the word "meditates." An interesting word, it literally means "a dull sound."
He hears this dull sound day and night. Our daughter, Heather, this summer, she was working for Delta Airlines and had to get up at some, oh, 4:30 in the morning she had to wake up – terrible. Her bedroom was next to ours, and she had this cute little alarm clock that was right next to her bed. I knew that wasn't going to work, and she'd turn that sucker off, and Karen would wake up, "Honey, you're going to be late for work." "Okay," scurrying around, showers and noise and all this stuff.
And, you know, when kids come home from college, they just destroy your life, don't they?
I mean, I love her, you know what I mean, Barbara? I love my children. I told her the other day, I said, "Baby, don't get me wrong. I love you. I love you," but it's time to go.
You know, and it's like – everything, you know, "My car won't work." "Put some gas in it, honey." You know, it's just – huh. Man. "You don't understand," I know. But, at any rate, she got this awful alarm clock. I mean, this thing sounds like a major fire alarm, and it's electric. And so she set it all the way across the room so she has to get up and go over it.
I'll never forget the morning, this one morning, 4:30, I hear this – nnnnnnnnnnnn. You know, you're like right in between awake and – and I'm hearing – nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Smoke detector, alarm's going off. I was sleepy – nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. It was a dull sound, a dull sound. Do you know this Book in such way that as you carry out your activities of the day, no matter what set of circumstances you're in, you hear this – nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. You can get cute if you want to, I enjoy reading, I read an awful lot, and I enjoy all that stuff. I read some good secular stuff, too.
(taps Bible) Master it – master it. You want power – master it.
Bob: Well, we have listened again today to Part 2 of a message from Dr. Crawford Loritts on the importance of modeling godliness for our children, a parent's number-one priority, Dennis.
Dennis: Yeah, and don't miss the simplicity and yet the profound power of what he's talking about, and that is who you surround yourself with is going to determine who you become and the outcome of who your kids become as adults. And so whether you're a mom and dad hammering out, raising teenagers today, or whether you're a single parent or a grandmother who is raising kids, and has been thrown back into that through circumstances, you need to surround yourself with godly counsel.
Just this past week, I was talking with a dad who was talking about how he is surrounded at work by secular thinkers, and all the planning that is done is from a secular mindset. He said, "But who is there that I can talk to, from a Christian perspective, a godly perspective, and get advice to become the man that God has called me to be in this spiritual battle?"
I think I have the potential as a dad to be great for God, but I need godly counsel. I need godly advice, and I think that's what Psalm 1 is pointing us to, Bob. It's pointing us back to the basics that who we are around is who we become. And that doesn't mean we need to huddle up in a holy cloister somewhere and just surround ourselves with just Christians and never touch the world, no, no, no, no, no, never that, because I think convictions are built as we press into the world and have an impact in the world.
But you've got to have a group of people, whether you're a single parent, a grandparent, a mom, or a dad, who reinforce biblical values from a godly perspective and don't allow you to drop your guard for a moment, because even as I was telling another friend about two weeks ago, Bob, it is amazing to me how quickly a good family can come unraveled. And a part of keeping us all on track is good, godly counsel holding us accountable and calling us back to the Scriptures and to applying them in our daily lives.
Bob: Well, and as Crawford has said, it's not just who you surround yourself with, but it's what you dwell on in your thinking, in your mind. It's what you meditate on day and night, and our delight must be in the law of the Lord, in godly counsel. And I think, too, it helps to see other dads and other moms who are in the midst of the same struggle. It helps for me to read stories like the stories in Crawford's book that talk about how one dad stood strong against the culture.
Dennis: Yeah, and I'll tell you, Bob, I couldn't express that too strongly to our listeners. A book like this from a father who made it happen in an urban setting, I think will give hope to parents in any setting, because if it could happen there, if this dad can do it, who is the grandson of a slave who came to Christ, then shouldn't you and I be able to do it in our evangelical churches? You bet, absolutely.
And I just think sometimes we've got to pull back to the basics and look at the big picture, and the thing that I like about Crawford's book is there are some very simple lessons that are outlined in here that Crawford's dad just kept on teaching him over and over and over again, and you get the point that, you know what? We really can teach our kids a few things if we just keep on being faithful to the task.
Bob: It wasn't long after I got Crawford's book that my own son, Jimmy Lepine, started hearing me say, "Oh, I see what this is. I know what this is. You're playing the monkey." A phrase straight out of Crawford's book.
Dennis: Straight out of the book.
Bob: One of the phrases that his dad used with him. "You're playing the monkey."
Dennis: And, you know, it's those kind of phrases, Bob, that, as parents, they do stick between the ears and hopefully in the hearts of our kids.
Bob: It stuck for Crawford, didn't it? I mean, here on page 64 of his book he says, "Pop had a saying whenever I did something that was downright foolish, he gave me a penetrating look and said, 'So you want to act the monkey?'" He says, "He wasn't calling me an animal, it was just his way of saying, 'Boy, you have better sense than that,'" and I love the stories and the lessons and how he passes on to all of us, as dads, what our assignment needs to be and what he learned from his own father.
We've got copies of this book in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and we want to encourage our listeners – go to our website, FamilyLife.com. In the middle of the home page, there's a red "Go" button. If you click that button it will take you to page where you can get more information about Crawford's book, "Never Walk Away, Lessons on Integrity from a Father who Lived It," and, of course, we have Crawford's message available on CD for any of our listeners who would like to hear his message in its entirety.
In fact, we'll be happy to send you a copy of Crawford's message. If you get a copy of his book and if you also get a copy of the book that you've written, Dennis, called "One Home at a Time," that is another rally cry for us, as parents, to make sure that we're focusing on the right stuff as moms and dads as we raise our children and as we move forward in our families.
Again, all the details are on our website at FamilyLife.com. Click the red button that says "Go" on our home page, and that will take you right to the area of the site where you need to be. Or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and someone on our team will make sure you get a copy of these resource sent out to you.
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Our website again is FamilyLife.com. You can also get information on being a Legacy Partner when you call us at 1-800-358-6329. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
Well, tomorrow we will hear Part 2 of Dr. Crawford Loritts' message on how we can be Psalm 1 parents – parents who walk in wisdom and who lead our children in that same direction. I hope you can be 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.
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