Discovering God’s Perfect Plan
About the Guest
What is God's will for you? God has equipped each of us with spiritual gifts in order to serve the Body of Christ. Dennis Rainey encourages listeners to jump in the game of life and get busy about accomplishing that which He has called them to.
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
What is God’s will for you?
Discovering God’s Perfect Plan
Bob: All right.
Dennis: A couple of days after he’d been appointed, he was sitting under an oak tree with a bunch of his buddies. He shared with them how he’d been commissioned to raise $2,000 to build an orphanage. He just thought, “I’m going to pass the hat.”
So, literally, took his hat off and passed it around the circle of men – about a dozen – who were seated there in the shade of a Texas oak tree. He collected the vast sum of $27.
Two years later, he’d collected $1,200 total, and ended up taking out a personal note. He went to a secretary of state for the state of Texas, and established a ministry to orphans. He purchased a small cottage in east Dallas, and began to care for just three orphans in that initial orphanage.
Ultimately, he went on to purchase 44 acres, then on to purchase another 450 more. He built a ministry that was all about empowering others to make a difference in those who have needs. Here’s the cool thing about the story, Bob.
This guy was not just about being an advocate for orphans; he was about women’s rights, and he worked in the area of racial issues. He established the first African-American high school in north Texas, in 1877. He founded Children’s Hospital, in Dallas. He went on to be a driving force of the formation of what is now called, The Baylor Health Care System, in Dallas. He even served as the president for the Dallas Humane Society.
Now, you may wonder why I am going to all the trouble to tell you the details about a preacher by the name of R.C. Well, R.C. Buckner wrote this poem. He said:
While all the shepherds feed their sheep,
it gives me joy the lambs to keep.
The feeble and the lame shall find
a resting place and treatment kind.
The aged ones shall also share
most tender, gentle patient care.”
Now, he wrote that in 1910. R.C. Buckner established Buckner Children and Family Services, which today—13 decades later—has over 1200 employees. It’s operating in 11 countries, caring for more than a half million orphans with a budget of over $100 million dollars. They care for orphans, widows, and the aging. It all started with one person who was willing to be obedient to God’s mission for his life and step out in faith.
Now, to me, R.C. Buckner is a great illustration of a man who has left—and is continuing to leave—a mighty legacy because he was obedient to what God had for him to do.
The question, I think, for each individual listener is: What’s God got for you to do? What’s his plan, his purpose that he wants to accomplish in this generation? Acts 13:36, speaking of David says: after he had served the purposes of God for his generation, he slept. In other words, he died.
David, even though his life was checkered with failures, served God’s purposes for his generation. God used him. Well, what are his purposes for today?
I think the church is one. I think orphans are another. The poor and the needy are highlighted in Scripture as being those who we must continue to reach out to. I think young people are a part of God’s purpose for every generation because they are the light-carriers for their generation. I also believe that the issues of marriage and family are a part of God’s purposes for this generation.
Bob: Well that's probably no surprise to anybody listening to FamilyLife Today. I mean, that's where you have invested your life, in that particular mission. I'm thinking of a mom who is saying, "This season of my life, I'm trying to invest in my kids. Does this purpose change from one season to another, do you think?
Dennis: Well, interesting that you should mention about moms, because recently my son, Samuel's wife, Stephanie wrote me an e-mail because I'd shared some of the fun things we were getting to do here on FamilyLife Today, and the people we were interviewing.
She said, "Man, I'd love to have your job." I wrote her back and I said, "Stephanie, I have to tell you. I think you have the coolest job in the world. To be a mom raising the next generation of warriors is really a high, holy, and noble calling. She wrote me back and said, "You're right."
I think that there are different seasons for investing your life in what God's up to. I think the question is do you have a sense that you're about what God has called you to do today? Are you about His mission, or are you fulfilling your own mission today?
Bob: So you look at your interests, your passions, and your giftedness, and your personality, and how God has made you. Then you look at what God's up to in the world and you think, okay, here's how God made me, here's what I'm passionate about, here's what God's up to…just find a way to blend it all together, and get busy?
Dennis: I'd begin, first of all, by praying, and asking God, "How have you wired me? And what have you given me a unique passion for, that I can really invest in this generation?"
I believe it does begin at home. I mean, you've got to start there. If you go to the world, and ignore your own family, I don't think that's what God's up to. I think He wants us to win first and foremost, there. But I don't think He wants us to stop there.
The family was not designed by God to be a “holy huddle” for us to just huddle up and have lots of hugs and kisses, and feel good about each other. No, it was meant to be turned outward and to make a difference in our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools, our churches, and invest in others. Our kids need to see us doing that.
The problem, Bob, I think today, is Christianity has become way too much of a spectator religion. One of the greatest compliments—in fact, it may be the greatest compliment anybody could possibly give me, other than ultimately coming to faith in Christ—would be, if they said, "You know, as a result of listening to your broadcast, or going to one of your conferences, I caught a vision for how God could use me in other people's lives.”
That's what happened to a couple who came to one of our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways, in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, back in—I think it was 1985—
Skip and Becky Leffler. They went to the conference. Their marriage was rocky. In fact, over the next four years they had attended three Weekend to Remember marriage getaways. At the end of the conference, we give couples a chance to sign up, and to make a difference in their communities by leading HomeBuilders groups, or by getting involved in the conference.
Skip held his hand up much to the surprise of Becky and volunteered them to help bring the conference back to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Well here's a couple who, when they first came to the conference four years earlier, their marriage was on the rocks. I mean they were at each other. But now they're focused outwardly, and helping others. God went on to use them over the next two decades to impact over 88,000 people who attended the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
That couple decided that they wanted to help others, and the result of that, Bob, not only did they help others, but their own marriage grew because they were giving their lives away.
And Bob, as you know, for the past three or four years, here at FamillyLife we've been working quietly on a brand new emphasis. Not to ask people to join us in our ministry, but really to think about how we could help them in their ministry and help them make a difference in their community, in their church, in their business, and impact marriages and families for Christ.
Bob: Well what we've really been trying to do is say that there are people who have a passion and a vision to see God work in marriages and in families. If we could provide motivation, tools, equipping and training so that those folks who have the desire could be ready to go …
Dennis: We could help them leave a legacy; that's the bottom line. I think that when you boil a legacy down, it's about people. It's about your family and how you loved and cared for them, and protected them.
I think, beyond your family, it's the next circle outward of those that you influence for Jesus Christ. You help for good. You're a vehicle of God's grace and mercy, and purposes from Scripture, and equipping them so that they can make their marriage go the distance.
I look at the culture today, Bob, and I've got to tell you that I get ticked off. I really do. I get angry at what I see on television, on the internet, in the news paper, in magazines, hearing music—really, the mockery that is being made of marriage and family, and all the aberrations that are spinning off. What are we thinking as a nation?
If there's ever been a time for people who care about the marriages and families in their neighborhood, in their community, and their church, it's today. What we've created are a number of different tools: E-mentoring--which was an online mentoring service to equip you to be able to not leave home, and have an online mentoring relationship impacting others.
Bob, you've been working on a brand new video conference that is designed to be hosted by a lay-couple—maybe as few as 5-10 couples getting together at somebody's
lake house, or in your basement, or maybe even the basement of your church—to find out what the Bible teaches about marriage and family. It's all about putting the tools in the hands of men and women, where they live and letting you make a difference. And you know what? That's what God's up to in this generation.
He is about impacting marriages and families—which, in turn, pass on the truth about who Jesus Christ is to their children, so that they grow up to have marriages and families who pass on the truth about Christ and the values of Scripture, to their children and their generation. I think the invitation is "Would you like to be a part of that?"
Again, it's not you being a part of what we're doing. It's "Would you like to be a part of what God's doing in your community?” If you do, we've got some tools to help you.
Bob: You mentioned the video conference that we've been working on. It's called The Art of Marriage. It's one of those tools that we've been working to produce to try to equip folks with resources you can use to have an impact on the lives of others.
And if you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, there's a link there to The Art of Marriage website, and you can find out how you could host one of these in your community when it comes out on “2.11.11,” on February 11, 2011. You can be a part of the premier weekend, and we've got all the details again, online, at FamilylifeToday.com. Just click the link that says The Art of Marriage.
There are other tools and resources that we've been working on so that if you have a desire, we can help equip you. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click the link to The Art of Marriage to find out more about that video conference, and how you can be a part of bringing that to your community. And while you're on the website, be sure to order a copy of the brand new VeggieTales DVD that has just come out, called "It's a Meaningful life."
It's the brand new story from VeggieTales, where Larry the Cucumber has a chance to win the big football game and he fumbles the ball, and his life goes in a different direction. He starts to look and say: Was my life really meaningful? Did it have a purpose? Then he sees that in spite of the dreams he had for his own life, God had another plan and it was a bigger and a better plan.
You can order a copy of the DVD, "It's A Meaningful Life," when you go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, or call us for more information at 1.800.FLTODAY. It's 1.800."F" as in Family, "L" as is Life, and then the word "Today.”
And when you get in touch with us, keep in mind that FamilyLife Today is a listener supported ministry and we do appreciate those of you who help support us with donations and who give to this ministry from time to time. Thanks for your financial support.
Now I hope you can be back with us tomorrow. We're going to talk about how God uses adversity and trials in our lives to help shape the legacy that we leave. Really, it's our response to those trials that determine the kind of legacy we'll leave. We'll talk more about that tomorrow and I hope you can be with us.
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 tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
We are so happy to provide these transcripts. However, there is a cost to produce them for our website. If you've benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs?
2010 Copyright © FamilyLife. All rights reserved.