Today on the broadcast, Crawford Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia, explains four characteristics of excellent leaders.
Today on the broadcast, Crawford Loritts, pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia, explains four characteristics of excellent leaders.
Bob: Do Christian parents understand what parenting is all about? Here is Dr. Crawford Loritts.
Crawford: We are on the threshold of a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God. I don't think we're there yet, but we're on the threshold. God is doing something in calling His people back to authentic Christianity. And what you're giving your kids is not just how-tos, you are giving them who you are.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 24th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Today we'll hear about our most important priority as parents from our friend, Dr. Crawford Loritts.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday edition. You know, whenever I hear a message like the one we're going to hear this week from Dr. Crawford Loritts, it's just a good reminder for me of how far short we all fall as parents.
Dennis: And, you know, unfortunately, Bob, that guilt is a lot of what people feel when it comes to being a parent, and that's not the purpose of what we're doing on today's broadcast. We want to kind of lift the sights of parents and have parents look out to the finish line and think about the legacy that they are going to leave to the next generation.
One of the most profound questions that I have ever been asked by another person was the following question – if you died right now, what kind of legacy would you have left to the next generation? Now, that's worth thinking about. Why?
Because how we live, what we model, who we are, is impacting someone either for good or for evil. Psalm 45:17 reads – "I will cause thy name to be remember in all generations. Therefore, the peoples will give thanks forever and ever."
And I think our assignment is to be a part of a relay race of truth – passing truth on through our lives to the next generation, and the way we do that is through the power of being a model to other people.
Bob: That's at the core of a message that we're going to hear on the broadcast today from someone who I think has that kind of vision when it comes to parenting. He has the long-term view of what it takes to be a godly parent.
Dennis: That's right, and he's a good model, too. I've played golf with him, and I've watched him several bad shots, and he's not here to defend himself. Some of his friends will hear this, though, and tell him that I was raggin' on him about his golf game.
But Crawford Loritts is a good friend, and he's endured many an insult from me. In fact, he was playing golf with my son, and I was on the other team, and we were playing him, and my son turned to him and said, "We've got to beat my dad. We've got to beat him."
And Crawford Loritts is a true spokesman for Christ. He does play golf, yes, but he is, more importantly, a preacher of the truth and one who lives the truth, and he is about to share with us the powerful principle of being a model for righteousness. Crawford and his wife, Karen, live in Atlanta, Georgia. They speak at our FamilyLife Marriage Conferences all around the country. In fact, Karen called Crawford just the other day – Crawford told me this – and said, "I want you to schedule us for more conferences next year."
Dennis: Yeah, and this is going to be fun – to allow him to speak to us today. He's spoken at Promise Keepers events all around the country, and I think you'll sense the favor of God and God's pleasure as Crawford speaks to us about the power of being a model.
Crawford: (From audiotape.) On February 20th, in January, I bought a new car. It was a nice car, and on January the 20th, when I'm at home, I take my kids to school, the two younger ones. We go through this little ritual, and I drop them off. Brendan's at the high school, and Holly's at the middle school, and they're right close together.
And then I usually I go on from there to the office. So out where we live, they're doing some construction. There's this two-lane highway, but it's very, very crowded. It's grown like crazy out in our part of town there, and there is only one way around – between 7:45 and 8:15 it is just congested because it's one way into the high school and the middle school off that one road.
They were widening it, and so they have temporary turning lanes, and it's kind of like bumper-car action out there. It's just really, really bad. There is an obscure back way to the high school if you get impatient. Well, I came to the stop sign there, and it was crowded, and there was a line of cars waiting to turn in. I looked, and I pulled out. Well, evidently, this guy in his Jeep Grand Cherokee must have been at the very end of the line and decided to whip out right at that time.
Well, he couldn't see me, and I couldn't see him, so when I came out, he's going right at about 60 miles per hour, and he hits the car, just tears it up. I mean, just tears it up. The emergency people said if he had hit me this much further back that I probably would be dead or the left side of my body just mangled and just hit me at the right spot.
Well, airbags, everything else goes on, and I luckily – I mean – luckily, it was more than luck it was the sovereignty of God and His grace. I get out of the car, and the only thing I had was a slight friction burn on my left hand from the airbag, and later on I had a little bruise here. The airbag must have pushed my head over to the poles, and I had a little bruise on the top of my head but nothing really serious.
It hit me so hard that it knocked – get this – it knocked the cell phone off the cradle onto the seat, and so I'm crawling out of the car with this cell phone, and this guy that hits me – now, he hit my car – he hit my car – I just wanted you to know that – and as I get out of the car, the guy starts screaming at me. He's yelling at me. He says, "I hope you die. I hope you die. I hope you die."
I said, "Wait, wait, wait. This is a piece of metal, buddy. It's a car – c-a-r. That's exactly what I said. This is a car. You're standing, and I'm standing. We're not dead. And then he said these words to me – he said, "This is white folks' country, nigger." And – not a good thing to say to me.
You know, at first I just – it's like, I don't believe this guy said this. And I want to tell you the truth, I started walking toward him. What got me was not the infamous "N" word. That didn't – really, what got me was him hoping that I would die and this – putting all of this together, you know, and I start walking toward him, and I wish I could tell you that I had godly thoughts. I didn't. I was going to bury that cell phone right upside his head.
And as I started walking toward him – now, I'll let you draw your own conclusions about angels and what have you, but I don't know where this woman came from, this woman came to me, grabbed me on my arm and said this to me – she said, "Sir, you are not to go over there." And just that quickly I came to my senses, and I just backed up and stared at him, and by this time we were right down the road from the police place, and the cops and all that stuff were there, and I turned around. The lady was gone. I don't know where she went to. I don't know where she came from; I don't know where she went to. You draw your own conclusion. I've never had an experience like that before in my life.
Well, you know, the emergency people came; it's a long story. They towed the – got the cars and were towing them away. Karen came, and she was there, and I was getting ready to get into her car. The guy is standing there waiting for somebody to come and pick him up, and people were dissipated now, and as I got ready to get in the car, something said – not audibly but an incredibly clear impression – "Crawford, go over there and shake that man's hand."
I audibly said, as I was getting in the car, "Not in this life."
And – no, it ain't happenin' here, brother. That can't be God. That's just a bad taco I had last night.
No, no, no, no, no. And it was, like – when I said that, Karen said, "What did you say?" She thought I was talking to her. I said – and as I got ready again, and I was closing the door, and as if I got scared that if I didn't go over there I would be disobeying God.
I got out of the car, and I walked toward him. This is kind of funny, though.
Now, everybody's gone now, and so homeboy, he sees me coming, and he's backing up now.
You ain't so bad now. Something said, "Just clock him," you know, that's it. I know, I know. So as he's backing up, I grabbed him and said, "Hey, come here, man." I just looked him dead in the eye. I said, "Buddy, I'm sorry this happened. I'm really sorry." I said, "Are you all right?" And I stuck my hand out. And the guy lowered his head. He melted.
I wish I could say I shared the Gospel, but I didn't. To be honest with you, I was still ticked. I was still angry. I shook his hand, and I had to walk away, because, you know – but I did share the Gospel with him later on, and I came back home and told our kids the story and how important it was to live out what we say we are.
And so my son, Brendan, said, "Yeah, but, Dad, man, you know, he said that stuff to you. You would have liked to bust him one." I said, "Brendan, listen, man, my testimony, all these people around there, what would that say about the God that I represent? Does him calling me a nigger make me a nigger?" That's exactly what I said to my son. "Does that make me one?" God loves him, son, God loves him."
A couple of months he was due into Congress. Brendan was driving his mother's car to a baseball game during the Congress, and mm, mm, mm.
Yeah, my brother, tore up his mother's car, and he told – actually, actually, he hit this other guy with just about – the fault's on both sides, I mean, that's irrelevant. Hit the car – tore up his mother's car – $4,000 worth of damage on the car, and he said to me, though, after it was over. He said, "Dad, I was really angry at that guy," because they both were going through the yellow light. This guy was coming this way, and he turned just like this, right at that time he clipped him.
And he said, "But I remembered what you did, and I went over to him, and I said, 'Sir, I'm sorry,' and I shook his hand." The eloquence of modeling, like it or not, we are establishing a legacy, and we're sending people out of these homes that we have into the next generation.
What gives them spiritual fervor and passion? Let me tell you the essence of what I really believe. Our kids are growing up, Brian is in graduate school now. He's a preacher of the Word, and the anointing and touch of God is on that young man, and pray for him. God is using him in a great way. I was just with him in Pittsburgh. He came with me to a Promise Keepers event, and I remind him all the time, "Son, don't operate out of your gifts. Please, don't operate out of your gifts, operate out of brokenness. God's hand is on you, but if you glorify that gift, it will get off of you pretty quick."
And God's using and Heather loves the Lord Jesus. She's wrestling with what God wants her to do. She's 20 years old. Brendan loves the Lord and is walking with Him, so far. He's 16, though, and Ollie loves Jesus, and she's 13, and there's a lot of things that they can do wrong.
One of the big problems that we have, however, in ministries where we're helping people to learn how to do things is that we think that the how-to is the ultimate solution. The how-to is not necessarily the solution to who-to and who we are really is.
My dad, he's never sat down and told me how to do anything when it came to a lot of character stuff. Oh, yeah, he told me not to lie and all that kind of stuff, but it was eloquence of his life that gave me a heart connection to him and what his values really were.
So as we talk about looking into the future and launching arrows, doing what Dennis and Barbara just painfully did a few moments ago, and the saying of "I do," and watching some guy, no matter how godly he is, marry your daughter – that is tough. The essence of what we're all about and what we want to see take place has to take place here with us.
You see, that's the reason why we've got to be real about our own walk and about our own lives. I asked my mother this some time ago, several years ago I asked her this – I said, "Mom, you know, how come you've always treated people, even those who have been 'nasty' to you," and only a few have been nasty to my mother through her life. My mother is the sweetest, gentlest, kindest, most merciful godly woman you ever want to meet in your life. I can't imagine anybody being upset with Sylvia.
But Mom said this to me, she said, "Son, you know what? I believe in the law of sowing and reaping, and I never wanted anybody to mistreat my children. So I sought to treat others the way in which I'd want them to treat my children. I live that way."
That's the reason why I'm so thrilled with the emphasis of this weekend, and that's the reason why I really believe the emphasis on family reformation is so right. Something is happening broader than just family life. There is revival and awakening in the air. We are on the threshold of a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God. I don't think we're there yet, but we're on the threshold. God's doing something and calling His people back to authentic Christianity where there's a reality that's there.
And what you're giving your kids is not just how-tos, you're giving them who you are.
Bob: Well, we've been listening together to Dr. Crawford Loritts as he shares the powerful principle that parents must first be models of God's truth in the life of our children.
Dennis: You know, Paul talked about that over in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 2, Bob. He talked about how when they imparted the Gospel, they didn't do that just in word only, but they did it by imparting their lives, and they proved to be examples among them as they ministered to them in chapter 2, verse 7.
And I think we, as parents, have a tremendous privilege to be a model, to be a hero to our kids, and to represent the truth to them day in and day out. I couldn't help but think, as Crawford was speaking, of a pro basketball player who reportedly said in the newspaper that he didn't want to be considered a model or a hero for kids. He didn't want his life to be emulated by kids because of the way he lived.
And, as parents, we've got to realize we may never have the cultural stardom that a pro basketball player or a baseball or a football player may have, but God has placed us in our families strategically to be the most powerful model our children will ever see, whether we are a single parent; whether we a grandparents; a dad; a mom – we are strategically placed to be a model and pass on a legacy of godliness to our kids.
And just a couple of points I'd want our listeners to know as they think about being a model to their kids. First of all, you don't have to be perfect to be a model. You can just stand strong and represent the truth and hang in there and finish. And when you do make a mistake, you get back up, and you repent, and you allow your kids to see you asking for forgiveness, and you keep on keeping on.
Bob: That's a part of what you need to model for your kids, isn't it?
Dennis: You do, and then a second thing of a model is maintaining a sense of openness with others who can call you to accountability and sharpen your life and help you be all that God intended.
Last night I was on the phone with a businessman, and this is what we were talking about – being all that God intended us to be and leaving a legacy to the next generation. And this guy said, "I want to give you permission to intrude into my life and call me to account and call me to spiritual growth and call me to be great for Jesus Christ."
And I said, "Okay. I've got something I'd like to intrude into your life about then. May I challenge you to watch what you say? Watch your vocabulary," which occasionally – and not very often, Bob, but this particular guy, his vocabulary is salted with a word that he could do without using, and I don't know if he uses them around his kids, but I do know that he, as a Christian businessman, is a statesman. He is a representative, he is a model for many, and I said to him over the phone, I said, "People are looking at you. They are watching you, and they're listening to every casual word you say."
And there was silence for a few moments back over the phone, and he said, "You know, you're right." He said, "I have covered to much ground with Jesus Christ to not finish going the last 100 yards with my language." And, you know, I said, "Yes, let it go." And, you know, there's areas in all of our lives like that, Bob.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: I only use that as an illustration with him because it just happened, and it illustrates so much of how we can be a model if we're willing to allow other people access to our lives to sharpen us and to call us to be all that God intended.
I want to tell you, the spiritual awakening that Crawford was speaking about in his message, I think it's occurring, and it's occurring on a grassroots level, and where authentic Christianity needs to be modeled first and foremost is not from the pulpit. It's not in church on Sunday. It's seven days a week, seven nights a week in your family and mine.
We're talking about building godly family values in your home and in mine at a grassroots level. We do that. I'm going to tell you something – all of Hollywood, all of Washington, all of Wall Street can't stop the spiritual awakening that is begging to occur.
Bob: And, as a dad, I have to keep in mind that that's going to happen with my kids, too, for good or for ill, they are going to be marked by my influence one way or another, and that's why a book like "Never Walk Away" becomes a resource for all of us as dads to make sure that we're being intentional; that we're living life on purpose, and that we are parenting on purpose and helping to shape and mold and direct the hearts and the minds of our children.
We've got copies of Crawford's book in our FamilyLife Resource Center. "Never Walk Away," is the title – "Lessons on Integrity from a Father Who Lived It." You can go to our website, FamilyLife.com, and in the middle of the home page, you'll see a red button that says "Go," and if you click that red button, it will take you to a page where there is more information about Crawford's book.
There's also information about a book you've written, Dennis, called "One Home at a Time," a book that maps out for us the core issues we need to be dealing with as a family in order to have a distinctively Christian family.
Any of our listeners who would like to get a copy of both of these books, we will send along at no additional cost the CD audio of the message that we're listening to this week from Dr. Crawford Loritts. Again, our website is FamilyLife.com, and if you click the red button that says "Go" in the middle of the home page, it will take you right where you need to go so that you can order copies of both of these books or any of these resources. Or call us at 1-800-FLTODAY, it's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and someone on our team will let you know how you can get any of these resources sent to you.
Now, our team may be busy when you call today, and part of the reason for that is because we've had a number of listeners from across the country who have been joining us this week saying "We want to be Legacy Partners with FamilyLife Today." Legacy Partners are folks who make a donation to FamilyLife each month, and this week, in particular, we have been encouraging folks to consider becoming a Legacy Partner. We're hoping to recruit hundreds of new families all across the country to join us as Legacy Partners, and we want to ask you to consider becoming a Legacy Partner.
There is information available on our website about the benefits that are available if you sign up as a Legacy Partner. But beyond the benefits, what you'll be doing is helping to make sure that FamilyLife Today continues to be heard in this city and in other cities all across the country.
So if you'd like more information about becoming a Legacy Partner, find it online at FamilyLife.com or call us at 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, and let me say thanks in advance for your support of this ministry. We appreciate your partnership with us.
Well, tomorrow we're going to hear from Dr. Crawford Loritts about what it means to be a Psalm 1 parent – a parent who seeks God's wisdom and who points our children in that 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 next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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