FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Anchoring Your Family Through Discipline

with Steve Farrar | June 18, 2004
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"God can use every man to anchor his family." So says Steve Farrar, a best-selling author and founder of Men's Leadership Ministries, on today's broadcast. One way of doing that, Steve explains, is through discipline. Hear Steve outline several timely principles of discipline.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • "God can use every man to anchor his family." So says Steve Farrar, a best-selling author and founder of Men's Leadership Ministries, on today's broadcast. One way of doing that, Steve explains, is through discipline. Hear Steve outline several timely principles of discipline.

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

Steve Farrar explains how God can use every man to anchor his family.

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Anchoring Your Family Through Discipline

With Steve Farrar
June 18, 2004
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Bob: The choices you're making today as a husband and as a father affect more than just your family.  Here is Steve Farrar.

Steve: Just as a father can have an impact, a positive impact for 100 years on his children and grandchildren by following Christ today, so we can have also devastating impacts by making foolish decisions.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, June 18th.  Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  There is reason to think twice and even pray twice about the decisions you make as a dad today.

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.  We've been talking this week about – actually, I thought when we started that we were going to be talking about how you can be a TV anchor man, you know, "Anchor Man?"  But that's not really the theme of this book, is it?

Dennis: And it's not relay men, running the anchor leg of a relay race – although that would fit for the theme we're talking about here.  We're talking about a book that is challenging men to be the anchors; that is, the anchor to the bottom of the ocean in the middle of the storm of life.

Bob: To keep the family from drifting and crashing against the shoreline.

Dennis: I'll tell you, there's a lot of current today tugging against families, and we're here every day on FamilyLife Today trying to help our listeners live the Christian life, hammer out biblical values in their marriages and families, and we've got a great resource here on the broadcast today – Steve Farrar.  Steve, welcome back to FamilyLife Today.

Steve: Thanks, Dennis, Bob, good to be with you.

Dennis: Steve is married to Mary; lives near Denton, Texas, up in North Texas; undoubtedly is a Cowboy fan; has two sons …

Steve: … actually, a '49er fan.  You know, Dennis, I'm from California.

Bob: Let's not start this rivalry on the air, right?

Dennis: Oh, my goodness.

Bob: But I did some studies with the Cowboys, so I've got to keep that under wraps.

Dennis: Well, it's out now.

Steve: It is, isn't it?

Dennis: It's out now.  Some of the Cowboys listen to our broadcast, I'll bet you.  You may be out in your Bible study here.

Steve: That's right, my ministry may be over there.

Dennis: That's right.  Well, you have authored a book called "Anchor Man," which is subtitled, "How a Father Can Anchor His Family in Christ for the Next 100 Years."  And you've got a chapter in here around this whole theme of anchor man.  It's chapter two – you say it takes more than sperm for a man to be a father.

Steve: I said that?

Dennis: Yeah, you did.  That's the title of Chapter Two, Steve.

Steve: It's amazing my wife would let me do that.

Dennis: You've always been kind of gutsy, but you're right.  You're talking about how a father is more than a label, isn't it?

Steve: Yeah, it really is and, you know, with the technology we have today, that's all some guys contribute to the fathering process, unfortunately.  But it's much more than that, and there is the involvement, and we've been talking the last couple of days about coaching and how dads disciple their kid by coaching them and giving all these tips.  But just as a father can have an impact, a positive impact, for 100 years on his children and grandchildren by following Christ today, so we can have also devastating impacts by making foolish decisions.

Dennis: This chapter is really at the core about commitment.  And if a man doesn't fulfill that commitment at home with his wife and with his family, the results of that, as you've just said, can impact not just one generation but up to four generations.  And in your book you share a letter from a very articulate 16-year-old young lady that was written to her father.  And I want you to set up the letter, if you would, for our listeners, giving them a little background here about why she wrote that letter.

Steve: This letter is written from a 16-year-old daughter to a dad.  She's trying to reason with him because he has gotten involved with another woman; believes he's in love with her; wants to divorce his wife; leave his kids, get a new life, get a new start; and she is grieving.  She's doing all that she can do to get into the heart of her dad and to convince him of the damage that he is doing.  It's one of the most gripping things I've ever come across in my life.

Dennis: You're saying here in your book that this father went to church; was a solid citizen; been married for 19 years.  He wasn't a bum; wasn’t a decadent street person.

Bob: And here's the thing – we know guys like this.  We live …

Steve: … they're in our churches, they're in our neighborhoods and, I've got to tell you, gentlemen, these guys make me angry.  Let me say this – the guy that's listening to this right now – and let me just talk straight.  If you're horsing around, if there is some gal – if there is something that's happening in your life that nobody knows about, it hasn't gotten sexual yet, but it's emotional, and you're fooling around, I want you to hear this letter, because the thing I would say to you is that God is trying to speak to you.  He's trying to get your attention, because he doesn't want you to do to your life and to your family what this guy has done to his family.

Dennis: This letter is pretty lengthy, and, Bob, as you read it, I'm going to ask Steve to make some comments along the way, because there are several points in here where – well, you're just feeling so many things.  I know we're going to want to comment as you read this letter.

Bob: Yeah, let me read it.  She begins by writing, "Daddy, I know that you were a really good football player.  I can just picture the fans cheering for you.  I would have been cheering, too, if I were there.  What our family is going through now is kind of like a ball game.  This is the most important game, it's the championship game, and everything rests on its outcome.  You're the captain of our team and Tommy," and that's her 14-year-old brother – "Tommy is on the team.  I'm cheering for you on the sidelines, and Mom and Ashley are the other cheerleaders.  We're cheering for you, believing and trusting that you'll do your best to not let us down.  You've already done so much for us."

Dennis: You know, it's interesting, as you read that, Bob, you can picture in this young lady's heart, she's got a special spot for this team that's been formed around her father.  She's recognizing it and its importance in her life, her brother's life, her mother's life.  This is a treasure, this is the ultimate trophy we're talking about here.

Bob: Yes, she goes on to write – "We have such a great team.  We have tons of fans that love our team, they respect us and look up to us, they're always there for us, cheering us on.  Daddy, then something terrible happens in this game."

Steve: Bob, let me stop you right there.  When she said, "We have such a great team.  We have tons of fans that love our team, they respect us and look up to us."  Here is a little 16-year-old gal, and she knows – what she's saying is, "Dad, our family has had a positive impact on other kids, on other families up to now.  But we're in deep danger of losing that, Dad.  We're in deep danger of – all you've worked to do you are in danger of losing."

Dennis: Yes, undoubtedly she's grown up with a lot of friends at school who have grown up in single-parent families.  Six out of 10 children today are going to spend part of their first 18 years of their lives with only one parent.  That's what she's talking about here.  This marriage that's been intact, this family, this team, that hasn't gone down to defeat has been that point of courage and strength for her.

Steve: Exactly.

Bob: She goes on to write – "Daddy, then something terrible happens in the game.  When the play is run, there's a terrible collision of both teams on the sideline.  We all got knocked down.  It surprised us so badly.  Many people were hurt.  The players were slow getting up.  The crowd was yelling, all the cheerleaders were still down.  Ashley, my sister, has a broken leg.  She's just lying there, still in shock.  She didn't understand how this could happen to her wonderful team.  We'd just been playing such a wonderful game.  I was hit in the stomach.  I can't catch my breath to call for help.  I want to so badly, though.  Not being able to catch my breath makes my heart hurt.  The pain is piercing all over my body.  Mom is hurt really bad.  She was crushed by one of the players.  Several ribs were broken.  One of them punctured her lungs and almost pierced her heart.  You can barely tell if she's alive.  She's taken the worst hit of us all."

Dennis: You know, it's interesting to listen to the words of this teenager express the anguish of the soul around the watching of the breakup of her home, of her family.  She's expressing here, as best she can, what's taking place in her little heart, and what's taking place in her mom and in her sister.  And you know what?  It's not pretty.

 If we could look at what's happening through the eyes of the father, he would be writing a letter about freedom and pleasure and happiness.  But you know what?  What's left on the sidelines is what she is describing.  It's anguish, it's grief, it's hurt, it's anger.

Steve: "He's doing his own thing.  He's finding himself."  That's what our culture would say.

Bob: Well, listen to what she writes about him, she says, "When the teams went back into the huddle, something very strange happened to you, Dad.  It seems like you've hit your head really badly.  I think you have a concussion.  You're confused.  You can't see very well.  You're walking around dazed.  We are all watching you walk back to the huddle but, Daddy, you're going to the wrong huddle.  You're walking to the wrong team.  Tommy is yelling for you.  He says, 'Daddy, here we are, over here.'  All your fans are screaming at you.  They're saying 'Eric, come back to your team.  You have to come back or we'll lose the game.'  Ashley cries, 'Daddy, can't you hear us?  We need you on our team so badly.'

 You must not hear us because you went to the other team.  You start to do better for a while.  Our team doesn't know what to do without you, and Tommy is trying so hard, but he still needs you to coach him on the plays.  Someone from our team says, 'Where's your Dad?  Doesn't he know he's on the wrong team?'  We don't know what to do without him.  I'm looking for help everywhere.  I can't help Mom or Ashley on my own, because I'm hurt so badly myself.  I see an ambulance, but I don't know who has the keys.  We're still on the field.  We're cold and lonely, and Mom is hurt so bad.  Why doesn't help come?  Daddy, we need help for you, because we're confused, and you've gone to the wrong team.

We need help for Tommy who is lost without you there to know what calls he should make.  We need help for Ashley, who can't understand what happened to her wonderful team.  We need help for me.  I'm so sad I don't have a reason to cheer without you.  We need help for Mom who may die because all she has ever worked for in her life is this team.  She has put everything into it and, now, all of a sudden, she's robbed of it.  She has no reason to go on living.  That's why I pray for help.  Where could the help be?  Daddy, you're the only one who can help.  You have the keys to the ambulance.  You're the only one who can pick us up off the field and nurse us back to health.  Can't you realize that?  We need you.

I know you're hurt, Daddy.  We want to help you because we love you so much.  We want you back on our team.  Please, Daddy, I'm begging you.  We can all help each other.  That's what a family is for.  It's half-time.  You have to make your decision soon.  You have to know that you can't play for both teams.  It won't work.  Which team are you going to be the captain of?  The team you created that loves you more than anything or the team that confused you and made you think you were on the right team?

I wish I could do something to help you make the right decision.  I would even die to save my Daddy.  I'm praying for you because I love you.  Please do what it takes to come home and stay with us.  Your daughter, Me."

Steve: As I was listening to this, the thing that was in my mind is – someone's heart has just been touched.  Someone the enemy is trying to con.  There's a guy, there is perhaps a woman, that's on the verge of going into an affair that's on the verge of making a huge mistake, yet it's on this day that the Holy Spirit has chosen that this be aired and that this letter be read.  My friend, He is trying to get through to you, and He is trying to get your attention to save your life and to save the life of your family so that this doesn't happen to you.

Dennis: The Apostle James said, "To him who knows what to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."  I've read a lot of letters.  I don't think I've ever read a letter that articulated how a child feels in the middle of a family breakup like this one.  And if you're that man right now, or that woman that Steve was speaking to just a few moments ago, before you run on to your appointment, to work, to that next duty that you have at home, the best thing you could do is to pull off to the side of the road and to repent – flat-out turn from sin, change your attitude toward that circumstance, that person, that choice you are about to make – turn to Jesus Christ and say to Him, "Forgive me.  I repent.  I turn from that."  And then the next thing you need to do is you need to get a cell phone, you need to get a regular phone, and whoever that other person is, if they are aware of this relationship, and they are a party to it, you need to call them and say to them, "This is over.  It's done."

Steve: And, "I won't meet with you to discuss it.  It's over now.  Period.  Finished."

Dennis: And then find a pastor …

Steve: … there you go …

Dennis: … go to church …

Steve: … there you go …

Dennis: … or someone you're accountable to – a godly Christian – confess it to them and talk about your game plan of how you're going to go about telling your spouse.  I wouldn't suggest just rolling into home at the end of the day and dropping a bombshell on your spouse without having clearly talked about it and discussed it with a wise, godly counselor, who could be there to help you put the pieces back together as they must be put back together after you burn the bridge to this other person.

Steve: The thing that strikes me about this letter is that this 16-year-old daughter is basically saying to her dad, she's saying, "Dad, you're killing us, you're killing us.  You're literally ending life as we know it."

Bob: This is where a dad is making the 100-year choice, Steve.  He's deciding whether he's going to mark his family for Christ for the next 100 years, by repenting and by turning back to Christ himself and leading his family in that direction, or whether he's going to follow sin and mark his family in that direction.  And you've seen, close to home, you've seen dads who have made the wrong decision, and you've seen it long enough that you've seen the impact on the children, right?

Steve: I think of a little girl that was friends with my daughter, and several years ago her dad got involved with some gal in the church – leaves his wife, leaves the four kids.  I watched her go through that phase where she would only dress in black.  I watched her when she would only wear black nail polish and black lipstick.  That little girl now is in an Ivy League school.  Why is she in that school?  Academics has become her life, a career has become her life, because as she told my daughter, "I will never be in a position again where I am dependent on a man ever."  Because the most important guy in her life let her down.  And, again, to the guy that's driving down the road and listening to this and playing with sin and pondering this – Dennis alluded to this earlier – the enemy is a liar.  Whatever you think you're going to get out of this, whatever benefit you think, whatever positives you think will accrue into your life, I want to tell you something – the best the enemy can offer you is dog food.  The best he can offer you is Alpo, and he's telling you it's prime rib?  I'm telling you it's Purina Dog Chow, and you're going to vomit it up, and you're going to live to regret it.

 The Holy Spirit, Dennis, I'm telling you, I can sense it in this room – the Holy Spirit is trying to get through to somebody here through this broadcast today and, my friend, this is no time to play games.

Dennis: It isn't, and you need to make the right choice.

Steve: Right now.

Dennis: Right now.  Don't wait until tonight, because you'll chicken out.  I've watched guys do this, and they're playing tiddley winks with the enemy of your soul, and there is a lot at stake in your choice.  Generations to come are going to know the reality of your choice for good or the reality of your choice for evil.

(song "Generations")

Bob: That is Sara Groves who is reminding us of, really, what we've been talking about this whole week that we can pass on a curse or a blessing to those we'll never know, and which do we want to do?  A curse or a blessing?  You know, I think the answer is pretty clear, right?  And if we want to pass on a blessing, then we need to be anchoring our own hearts in the Word of God and following the counsel of guys like Steve Farrar, his book "Anchor Man."  We've got it in our FamilyLife Resource Center.  We've got the book that you wrote, Dennis, "Growing a Spiritually Strong Family," and this week we're encouraging listeners to get both books and spend time reading them this summer and set out a strategy for how you're going to anchor your family in Christ for the next several generations.

 If you order both books together, we'll throw in at no additional cost either the cassette audio or the CD audio from this week's worth of programs.  Just ask for the free audio when you call to order both the book "Anchor Man" and the book "Growing a Spiritually Strong Family."  The toll-free number is 1-800-FLTODAY.  That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY or you can order online at and you'll see the – you order both books, and the audio is right there with it at no additional cost.

 Again, our website is, and if you're calling, the toll-free number is 1-800-FLTODAY.  Dennis?

Dennis: Well, it's been a challenging time here today talking about the need for men to make a commitment and, Steve Farrar, I want to thank you for being on the broadcast.  You've made a great impact on men this week.

Steve: Well, thanks, Dennis.  Thanks for having me.

Dennis: You know, today we've talked about the need for men to fulfill their commitment – a commitment for good or a commitment to choose evil.

Bob: Being an anchor man.

Dennis: That's right, and what kind of legacy we're going to leave and, you know, I've never forgotten the true story of a man who was bathing in a river in a foreign country, and he looked upstream, and he saw a beautiful woman who was naked.  She was far enough away he couldn't truly make anything out but the silhouette of her figure, and so he was tempted, and he began to move upstream.  And as he wrote about this, he wrote about the temptation in his soul and how he was caving in to his lust.  And he got closer and closer and closer and finally got close enough where she turned to him, and he realized she had leprosy.  And at that point, he was so jarred by the reality of what he was about to choose, he immediately turned and moved away.  That's what sin is.  The silhouette is not the same as reality.  Sin will destroy your life, your soul, your legacy.  If you're going to be an anchor man, you've got to be an anchor for what is good, and I've got to believe right now, Steve, there are men who need you to pray for them, because they have already decided – they've pulled off the side of the road, they are maybe weeping about what they have already chosen.  But they need your prayer today to choose good instead of evil.

Steve: Father, we pray for all of us that you might give us eyes to see what we normally wouldn't see.  Give us the wisdom to see the leprosy.  Give us the wisdom to see that what it looks like from afar is not that at all when we get up close.  And the problem with leaving a relationship, thinking it will make us happy, is that we have to take ourself into that new relationship, and our biggest problem is not our spouse, our biggest problem is not somebody else, our biggest problem is us. 

 I pray for every guy, I pray for every woman.  I pray for the guy that, right now, is overwhelmed by his sense of conviction that comes from your Holy Spirit.  Give him the courage to do what's right.  Give him the courage to stop right now.  Give him the courage to look down the road six months, a year, 10 years, 100 years, and see what the consequences of this act will bring into his life and the life of his family.  I pray that You will save him.  I pray that You won't let him be distracted.  I pray that You will help him to make the right choice.  And years down the line and for all of eternity, he will be forever thankful to You for intervening in his life.  Do the work Lord Jesus right now that none of us can do.  Do the work that only You can do and save his family from destruction.  We ask in Your name, amen.

Bob: FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


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