Being a HomeBuilder, Part 2
About the Guest
No matter what your age, you can make a difference. Dennis Rainey encourages those nearing retirement to consider what they can do with their free time and resources to fulfill the Great Commission in their neighborhoods and communities.
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
No matter what your age, you can make a difference.
Being a HomeBuilder, Part 2
Bob: If you’ve always wanted to get involved in some kind of active ministry, Dennis Rainey says the options before you today are wide open.
Dennis: We have a target-rich environment: divorce prevention, single parents, blended families, sex slavery, orphans, widows, ministry to parents. What would be the cause outside of your marriage, your family, your immediate faith with Christ—what would be the cause that you would be willing to die for?
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, November 18th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’ll talk today about what might happen if everybody got involved in reaching out in some way to meet the needs of others. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. You remember a number of years ago when John Piper joined us as a guest on FamilyLife Today. We were talking about a book he’d written called Don’t Waste Your Life.
He tells the story that some of our listeners have heard before about a couple who retired to Florida, set up their retirement down there, and spent days on the beach collecting seashells, and had put together a nice collection. Then, he just talked about, “Is that really what you want your life to be about in the later years of your life—having a nice seashell collection? Is that what you want to stand before and present to God; and say, ‘Look at my nice seashells,’” ?
He makes the point pretty compellingly that our lives ought to be about something more than that.
Dennis: I think so. When Jesus passed off of the planet, He gave those who professed to follow Christ what’s called the Great Commission. He commissioned us with a task. He said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” The Great Commission is not optional. Every listener who’s listening to our voices right now needs to be evaluating his or her life on what part of the Great Commission you’re involved in. Every one of us has got an assignment.
Ephesians, Chapter 2, verse 10, makes it very clear, “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” He has got an assignment for you. The question is, “What is your assignment?”
We believe here at FamilyLife that we have a gargantuan need here in our country of marriages and families being overtaken by evil, and we think the only way we are going to be able to address this problem is by unleashing the army—turning you loose, as a listener, to make an impact in your neighborhood, your church, your community, your business, your city, and your state. We believe the hope of the home is found in the Gospel, put in the hands of people like you.
Bob: So, you are saying if folks aren’t sure what their assignment ought to be, you have a suggestion for them.
Dennis: I have more than a suggestion. (Laughter) I have an invitation, and I have a challenge. What we’re going to hear on today’s broadcast is a message that I gave to a group of folks who were 50 to 75. It is called SageWorks, and our church asked me to come in and speak.
This is Part Two of a two-part message that I gave to them, challenging them to think through, “What’s my assignment? What am I doing? Why am I here? What’s my purpose? If God is at work, where is that; and how can I join Him in that?”
Bob: One of the points that you made in that message is that we should not give our lives to lesser things—to seashell collections as what fills our days. Here is Part Two of that message from Dennis Rainey, calling men and women to become HomeBuilders.
Dennis: [recorded message] This generational responsibility is spoken of in Psalm 78, where it says, “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know, even the children yet unborn and arise to tell them to their children; so that, they would place their hope in God.”
My assignment is not just me. My assignment is to my children, to my children’s children, and to instruct them to teach their children—four generations.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer has written, “It is the righteous man who lives for the next generation.” That used to be my favorite quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The one that has replaced it is a chilling quote, “The greatest gift one generation gives another is a moral society.” When I read that quote, I immediately went to my typewriter and sent all of my adult children an e-mail, apologizing to them that we, in our generation, and their mother and I, have failed to give them a more moral society than the one we were given.
“The greatest gift one generation gives another is a moral society.” Well, what are we to do about all this? Well, I’ve got three very simple points. Number one, I believe it begins as you and I surrender our lives to Jesus Christ afresh. Romans 12:1 and 2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He says, “I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living a sacrifice.” That’s how we avoid being conformed.
I think there is a fresh need to talk about our surrender to Jesus Christ. I can tell you personally that after 43 years of attempting to walk with Christ, “It doesn’t get any easier to surrender to Christ.” Someone has said, “The doors of opportunity swing on the little hinges of obedience.” Are you surrendered? Are you all in?
A second thing you need to do, after you’ve settled the issue of surrender, is to determine your cause—determine your cause. Now, there are all kinds of causes today, but I just want to break it out into two kinds of causes. There are little causes, and there are big causes.
Little causes may be like this one. This past Christmas, I told you that Barbara and I went to New York City for Christmas. We went to Broadway. We had some meetings up there, and we had a couple of hours to burn before we had to catch our flight. So, we went into Grand Central Station. We walked into this cute, French shop that was filled with all kinds of gadgets—high color, vibrant, fun store.
So, Barbara and I went in there; and she found a couple of bibs for the twins and had brought them over there. I walked by this counter, and there on the counter were two books—both, “F- you”. I looked—and it was spelled out—I looked at that; and I went, “You know, I didn’t ask to see that. I’m just shopping.” So, I said—Barbara came over with the bibs—and she said, “Do you want to buy them?” After we saw these things, I said, “No, put them back.”
So, I’m leaving; and I’m having this argument with God, “What’s it going to matter? Why say anything? Will this guy even listen to me? Is the owner even here?” So, I looked over at the cash register, and I saw a guy who was grey. I thought, “I bet that’s the owner.” I’m not going to talk to him. So, I walk on out. There was a guy standing at the door. I said, “By chance, is the owner here?” He said, “Yes. That’s the guy at the cash register.”
So, I went, “Rats! I’m going to have to go talk to him.” (Laughter) I went back over to the guy, and I introduced myself. I said, “I just wanted you to know I just was about to be a customer. I just have to tell you, you have a great shop.” It was a shop. “We were enjoying your shop, but I’m really offended by those books that you’ve got down there at eye level where children can take a look at them. I saw one mother who walked by and just shook her head in disgust.”
I said, “Your store is above that. You shouldn’t have that kind of stuff in here.” He looked back at me. He said, “Well, I really appreciate you saying something. We’ve been in a debate with my employees about that, and they think I need to have it. I’m not sure about it, but I appreciate you saying something.” There are the little causes that you and I walk by all the time.
I’ll never forget this statement by Norman Schwarzkopf. He said, “You send your sons and daughters to go to war, and I’m in charge of them. You do not pay me to walk by little mistakes.” In the military, there is no such thing as a little mistake. I’m going to tell you something, “In God’s economy, there aren’t any such things as little issues.” We just need to engage them politely, gently, and see how God uses our conversation.
This is a target-rich environment we’re talking about here, folks. Here is my question for you. Right now, if I told you, “This room had been surrounded by a militia. You have to go outside and line up against a church wall out there and give your life for something because they are going to shoot you.”
You can’t say, “Jesus,” because we’d all agree we’d give our lives for Him. You can’t say, “Your wife,” and you can’t say, “Your kids,”—what would be the cause outside of your marriage, your family, your immediate faith with Christ—what would be the cause that you would be willing to go outside and die for? “What is my cause?”
This may shock you, but I have actually done more career counseling in leading FamilyLife, as an organization, than I have marriage counseling. I am convinced, after talking with hundreds of men and women, most of us never get around to answering this question. What am I willing to die for? That’s how you determine what you’d be willing to live for.
Here’s your assignment. Pray for 30 days. Say, “Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, Who created 40,000 kinds of butterflies. If You have that kind of intricacy to detail, You can help me determine my cause. What is Your cause?”
For those of you who are here with your spouse, I think there ought to be a sense in which together, collectively, at this stage of your lives, you pull back as you think about SageWorks; and you look at that and you go, “What is our cause as a couple, where we can roll up our sleeves together and get dirt and earth under our fingernails because we’re in spiritual battle?” Thirty days—have you got it? Have you got your cause?
Third, not only do we need to surrender our lives to Christ; secondly, determine our cause; but third, we need to courageously step up and step out in faith.
I’m really pleased that a book that I have been working on for 12 years is done. It’s a book to men called Stepping Up. In case you are wondering, I don’t take a penny from any of the books. I’ve donated all the royalties to them. It’s not about—if you want to buy them, that’s great—it’s not about feathering my nest. It’s about reaching out to others.
There is a quote in here from a Dockers® jean commercial that I want to read to you because this, to me, hits men right in the chest. It is a call to them to step up and make a difference where they live. Listen carefully. This is a Dockers jean commercial that ran in magazines:
Once upon a time, men wore the pants and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors, and little, old ladies never had to cross the street alone. Men took charge because that’s what they did; but somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy, non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny.
But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave, and those little, old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of manhood. It’s time to wear the pants.
If Dockers can say that, for goodness sakes, what should we be saying? Calling men to step up, set out, and make a difference. I love what Howard Hendricks says, “The day your past becomes more exciting than your future is the day you start to die.” I’ll read it again. “The day your past becomes more exciting than your future is the day you start to die.” What are you dreaming about for the future?
You say, “Well, Dennis, my goodness! Look at our age.” Well, you know what? There have been some people after 65, 70, and 75, who have gone on to make a huge difference. I could point you to one Miss Kitty Longstreth, who is a model—I mean, a gargantuan model of how God uses an available soul.
If you courageously step up and step out in faith, expect hardship. Don’t expect the success you, maybe had, or perhaps, experienced and enjoyed in business; ministry is spiritual warfare. It’s tough. It doesn’t always end pretty. I love what Churchill said, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” Isn’t that good?
I close with this story. David Livingstone, who for more than four decades served Jesus Christ on the continent of Africa, introducing Africans of all stripes to Christ, was dying of malaria and dysentery. He was so weakened that he had to be pulled out of bed at his request to get on his knees. He wanted to die praying for Africa on his knees. They came into his room and found him face down in a pillow on his knees, hands stretched out.
Livingstone had given them permission to bury his body in Westminster Abbey in London, but he had told them to remove his heart from his body and bury it under a Mvula tree in Africa.
Here’s the question, “Where do you want your heart buried?--by the TV?—the golf course?—fishing dock?” I just have to tell you that there is nothing wrong with watching TV, nothing wrong with hunting, fishing. I enjoy them all; but the question is, “Where do you want to bury your heart?”
Bob: [end of recorded message] Well, we’ve been listening to Part Two of a message from Dennis Rainey calling men and women to be HomeBuilders and to invest in the right stuff. Some of our listeners, Dennis, are going to be called by God in different directions. Marriage and families are not going to be what they are called to.
Bob: There are a lot of folks who are not even asking the question, “Where do I want my heart buried?” They need to stop and ask that question.
Dennis: Well, here is the question, “What are you passionate about?” What if right now we circled your car, or your home, or wherever it is you’re listening to this broadcast—we circled it with a group of terrorists who ask you to come outside and give your life for something. What would you give your life for? What is your cause? What are you passionate about?
Well, then, you know what? Maybe you need to find some fresh ways to express your passion. For a lot of our listeners, Bob, there are a bunch of them who are already very busy; and they are busy about the right thing. I’m not talking about adding more to peoples’ plates who already have a commission and are already a part of the Great Commission.
I’m going to tell you something. Our marriages and families today—they are in trouble. They are in deep trouble. The biggest problem in America today is not an economic problem; it is not a political problem. It is a problem in our homes. If we continue to allow the family to be devoured by evil, our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren are going to pay the price.
We may be gone. We may be done with it; but you know what? That’s not a good answer to say, “It’s not going to devour me.” The question is, “Would you like to grab a tool?” because we have a bunch of tools you can grab.
There’s the Art of Marriage®, which has been seen by more than a 125,000 people throughout the United States—and thousands every month more are going to it. All these video conferences are being hosted by lay men and women who are pulling this video event into their community. It is a kit you can purchase and bring into your community and make a difference.
Maybe you are a woman listening right now, and you’d like to make a difference in other women. We have LifeReady® Woman. Shaunti Feldhahn, graduate of Harvard, Wall Street analyst, now a mother of two, gives a biblical perspective of how you can become a LifeReady Woman. That is a video training experience that you can lead as a woman.
Name your passion around marriage and family; and if we don’t have the tool, we’ll help you find another ministry—Focus on the Family, or Emerson Eggerichs, or another leader—who has a tool that you can use. The issue is, “How are you going to get in the war for the home, and how are you going to make a difference?” because we need you. We don’t need you later, we need you right now.
Bob: In fact, we recently took the Art of Marriage, which a lot of people have been using in churches and communities all around the country. There have been hundreds of these events over the last nine months, and more than 100,000 people have attended an Art of Marriage event. We’ve gotten great feedback on it, by the way.
So, if you’ve thought about hosting something at your church, doing something that would be marriage-related in your church, don’t wait for the pastor to put it together. You can do it. Get an Art of Marriage kit, go to the pastor and say, “Can we do one of these?” Pick a weekend that works, and host it on a Friday night and a Saturday.
In fact, I had an opportunity to do this a couple of months ago at a church in Costa Rica. I was on a missions trip with our church over the summer, and I took an Art of Marriage kit down. The Art of Marriage is subtitled in Spanish. So, we showed it in the church where everybody could read the subtitles. We had the manuals done in Spanish. So, they had their Spanish manuals and the Spanish subtitling, and got a great response in Costa Rica to the event.
You may know of a church in your community that is a Spanish-speaking church. Why not talk to them about hosting an Art of Marriage event? These are just some of the ways you can get involved in what Dennis has been talking about today.
Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the tools that are available. Maybe it is not the Art of Marriage; maybe it is a small group study like the Homebuilders Couples Series® or the LifeReady Woman curriculum that we put together for women’s small groups or for women’s ministries in the church—all kinds of tools available. Find out more when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com.
Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Stop by, look around, see what’s available; and, then, get in touch with us and let us know what you’d like. Let us know what your plans are and how we can help support them. We’re excited to see how God is going to work through this growing HomeBuilders movement that is starting to happen all around the country.
We want to say, “Thanks,” today. Many of you who listen to FamilyLife Today get in touch with us from time to time to let us know that you are listening and that you believe in what we are doing; and that is always encouraging to hear. We are also encouraged when you are able to help with a donation to support the financial needs of this ministry.
The production costs related to this program, the syndication cost for it, the cost of hosting it on the internet and making it available 24/7, along with everything else we’re doing here at FamilyLife—all of those costs are born by folks like you who help us out with donations on occasion. We appreciate those of you who are Legacy Partners and those of you who donate from time to time.
In fact, this week, if you are able to help with a donation, we’d love to send you as a thank-you gift, Barbara Rainey’s devotional guide for families called Growing Together in Gratitude. This is a book that features seven stories to be read aloud to your family to help cultivate thankfulness and gratefulness in the hearts of children—well, grownups as well. Along with the book, there is a Thanksgiving prayer card that we’d love to send you. Again, this is our way of saying, “Thank you,” for your support of the ministry.
If you’d like to make a donation online, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the button that says, “I Care”. That way, when you make the donation, the book will be sent to you automatically; or call 1-800-FLTODAY. You can make a donation over the phone. When you do donate that way, just be sure to ask for the devotional book on gratitude. We’ll be happy to send it out to you. Again, thanks so much for partnering with us here in the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We really do appreciate you.
We hope that you have a great weekend. Hope that you and your family are able to worship together this weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday when Jerry Sittser is going to join us. He is a professor at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.
He is going to help us understand some of the things we can learn from our brothers and sisters who lived a long, long time ago—long before we were born. We are going to see how church history, and the study of church history, and reading the writings of those who lived in past centuries can actually mark our lives, our families, and our marriages, even in the 21st Century. I hope you can tune in 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 Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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