Handing Over the Baton
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On the final day of Bob Lepine’s farewell week, he shares the last of his most memorable interviews on FamilyLife Today and passes the baton to his dear friends and co-hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson.
Handing Over the Baton
Bob: Welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Friday edition, Friday, May 28th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I’m Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. I’ve probably said something like that about 7,000 times. [Laughter]
Dave: —at least.
Bob: I was doing the math on that, so that’s the last one.
Ann: Oh! [Laughter]
Bob: We are—
Dave: And you’re laughing about it.
Ann: I’m crying; Bob’s laughing.
Bob: —we are back to where we started this week—to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. This is that time. This is the last time I’ll be on FamilyLife Today as a co-host with you guys. You guys will take it from here, and you’ll do great.
We’ve been spending time this week just reflecting on some of the big lessons I’ve learned in 28 years of being the co-host on FamilyLife Today, first with Dennis Rainey and then with the two of you over the last couple of years.
Dave: Do we need to learn to say, “Welcome to FamilyLife Today—
Bob: You can start however you want.
Dave: —“with Bob Lepine”?
Ann: You guys just keep talking. I’m going to blow my nose.
Dave: Ann’s over here crying.
Ann: I am.
Bob: Well, I don’t want to trivialize this; because I know we’ve had/with listeners, you build a relationship through the years. I’ve met people, who have graciously said the program has made a difference in their lives/God has used it in their lives. It’s been a privilege to get to do what I’ve gotten to do over the last 28 years.
Ann: Bob, you have marked all of us.
Dave: Yes; and you’re really good at what you do.
Ann: You’re faithfulness to Jesus just pours out of you. Your desire and love for God’s Word, and theology, and the family have shifted a generation.
Ann: Thank you.
Bob: —it has been a joy.
What’s been good for me has been all of the people, who have poured into me over the years—the past 28 years—guests we’ve had on FamilyLife Today. We’ve talked this week about marriage principles I’ve learned, parenting principles I’ve learned, the differences between men and women, things I’ve learned from Dennis Rainey. Now, I’m just going to catch up today with a mixed bag of some of those things: I’ve quoted these things to people, over and over again, since I heard them the first time on a FamilyLife Today program.
Back in the first year we were on FamilyLife Today, we did an interview with our friend, Gary Rosberg. Gary and Barbara were speaking at the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways with us. Gary had just written a book at resolving conflict, where his whole idea was you’ve got to close the loop: “When there is an open loop, you’ve got to close the loop.” Do you remember this?
Dave: Oh, yes; I remember that.
Bob: What came up in that conversation was the priority of pursuing peace when there is conflict. I would tend to be a conflict avoider; and talking with Gary that day, he brought to the forefront Romans 12:18. Here is our conversation with Gary from back in 1993.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Gary: You know, Paul put one sentence in Scripture that I grab onto; and that sentence says: “As far as it depends upon you, whenever possible”—I mean, he gives us two caveats there—“As much as it depends upon you, whenever possible, be at peace with everyone.”
For some of the listeners, they may be sitting back in abusive situations, in situations where another person doesn’t want to move toward restoration. We cannot control another person; but what we can do is choose, in our own relationship with Christ, to receive God’s forgiveness and then, secondly, to forgive ourselves and then do what we can, as much as we can, to step up to the plate to try to open up the restoration of the relationship with the other person.
Bob: Just a quick moment with Gary Rosberg, but it was so powerful for me—the priority of pursuing peace and the necessity of forgiveness and reconciliation in relationships—not just in marriage; and it does start in marriage, but all relationships—extended family relationships, where there has been a fractured relationship. The onus is on us. If there is a fractured relationship, the onus is: “Have I done everything I can to pursue peace?” Sometimes, it’s not possible.
Dave: Yes, I was going to say, “Sometimes, it doesn’t work out on their side; but if you can sit before God and say, ‘I’ve done everything I can do,’ then you can live at peace.”
Dave: You can actually go to sleep and be in peace.
Bob: Those two caveats—“if possible,” “as much as it depends on you”—that’s your responsibility. If you’ve done that, like you said, you can be at peace.
We had another early conversation with Jim Elliff, who had written a short book on childhood conversion: kids making an early profession of faith in Christ. What should we think about that when your child, at age four, says, “I want to ask Jesus into my heart,” and you pray a prayer with them. Do you then go, “Okay, this is settled in heaven,” or “How do you think about that?” I asked him in the interview: “What should we do, as parents, if our child makes an early profession? How do we respond to that?” Here is how that conversation went.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Jim: In the history of Christendom—it was always believed that children could be converted—but it was not always accepted that we could know if children are converted until a later age when their faith was tested so that they could see if what they had was genuine.
Bob: As a parent, should I be hoping for leading my child in praying the kind of prayer that we’ve all been taught we should teach a child to pray?
Jim: Well, I think we can improve the way we communicate with God by being a little bit more biblical when talking about repentance and faith; that’s one thing. But I think that we should, in fact, encourage our children to pray and to talk to God about this repentance and faith. They might deal with that many times before they know if they’ve actually been converted.
Dennis: You’re actually talking about prayer being the expression of a heart attitude.
Dennis: Sometimes, we get into a rut of thinking that a prayer expresses a heart attitude that isn’t there—
Dennis: —that a child isn’t repenting and believing—that the child is merely reading a prayer or saying a prayer because Mommy or Daddy or Grandma or Grandpa want him or her to say a prayer.
Jim: That’s right. We formularize this idea of Christianity into a prayer. If we can say this prayer, then it’s like putting money in a vending machine; and God has to give us eternal life. I contend that there are many, many millions of people, who prayed a perfectly-worded prayer that they found written some place or has been given to them by somebody else; but don’t know Christ at all and are on the way to hell. Unfortunately, the emphasis/the wrong emphasis on that issue has deceived many.
Bob: Well, how was that; huh?
Ann: Isn’t that interesting? I’m just thinking of all the conversations of parents that I’ve had come up to me, when their child maybe has turned, and they are rebelling; but they feel very much assured because they’ll say, “But my son prayed a prayer when he was three.”
Ann: I’ll ask the question, “Are you seeing fruit of that prayer?” I think, as parents, we’re desperate for hope.
Bob: Yes; and I want to make sure parents—as they hear this—I want to make sure they understand, “Anything your child does that’s positive spiritually/that is moving in the right direction, affirm that, cheer that on, celebrate that.”
Dave: Yes; right.
Bob: But keep looking for evidence of conversion/evidence of change—not perfection—not that your child is never going to sin again. Of course, he is going to sin again; you do. But keep looking for there to be evidence of a living, active relationship with Jesus.
In those times when your child sins, and you go, “I wonder if he is really saved or not,” share the gospel with your child. In those times when you sin, share the gospel with yourself. We keep coming back to the gospel; we need to keep believing the gospel over and over again.
Okay; here is a great story. We did an interview with Dr. Robertson McQuilkin, who was the president of Columbia Bible College and Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. In 1992, he stepped down from that role to go home and take care of his wife Muriel, who had Alzheimer’s disease. I remember the speech he made when he stepped down. He said, “It’s not that I have to; it’s that I get to. She’s made my life possible. I get to care for her. It’s a delight to care for her.” It was such a powerful picture of covenant love.
He came [to FamilyLife®]. We talked about that decision, and about caring for Muriel, and about his life. She was still alive at this point; but he told a story about, back before she had started showing signs of Alzheimer’s, a conversation they had. He was trying to explain to her why she was just not thinking correctly. Here is how the conversation went.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Robertson: I think you’re referring to the time we were, in the evening, in bed, discussing some earth-shaking theme, which I do not remember. I was just demolishing her arguments with superb logic. [Laughter] But she didn’t wait for any sympathy or pity. She just reared up on one elbow and flashed those green eyes at me; and she said, “Well, let me tell you something! Logic is not everything, and feeling is not nothing.” [Laughter]
Bob: I heard that, and I thought, “How many times have I tried to logically explain to my wife why what she’s feeling just does not make sense?” I’ve been rebuked by that statement many times: “Logic is not everything, and feelings aren’t nothing.”
There was another time like that when Pastor Tommy Nelson; you know Tommy. Tommy is—
Bob: —a pastor at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas. Tommy had been getting ready to preach through the book of Romans at his church. They were going to video tape it/put out the video series. This was a big deal. He said, “If I can do this, I can die a happy man.”
He’d been burning the candle at both ends to get this ready. His wife came in one day to talk to him, and he was unresponsive. He was awake and functioning, but he just could not respond to her—took him to the hospital—they thought it was, maybe, a stroke. The doctors checked him out/said, “He is fine.” It was only later that a doctor said, “You are depressed.” He goes, “I’m not depressed! I love what I do.” The doctor said, “No, you’re depressed; because you have not been resting the way you should.” Here is how he tells the story.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Tommy: I struggled with elation more than depression. I just loved what I was doing.
Dennis: How many hours a night did you sleep?
Tommy: I would go to bed. I would crash at about 10/10:30—then I was always up at 5—never would I sleep much after 5. Usually, I would get up at about 4 because I was excited about that day because at 6 I got to handle the Word with 40 top guys. At 6, I would take off and teach until 7. Then I would usually go and answer email. Then I would go work out. Then I would come back and take a nap in the afternoon; and then, you know, get ready for a weekend conference. Head off on a Friday, hit and do three times Friday night, three times Saturday morning; come back four times on Sunday on preaching—
Tommy: —get up and go 6 a.m. I loved it just because—the idea of the gospel—being expended for the gospel.
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Bob: That’s what I’m trying to ask, “Am I hearing you right?—because I’m hearing you say, ‘This came on me,’ but I’m also hearing you say, ‘I brought this on me.’”
Tommy: I can look in retrospect and see three years before it was continual putting myself in unrelenting pushing without any rest; but it did hit me, literally, in a moment. My body said, “That is all.”
Bob: It doesn’t sound like there were a lot of Sabbaths in your life.
Tommy: Oh, no; there were no Sabbaths.
Dennis: Tommy, forgive me; because I don’t want to simplify or quickly spiritualize, but there is a message that you’ve just sent a lot of people. There is a reason for Sabbath rest.
Dennis: You need to honor what God told us to honor in the Ten Commandments, setting a part a day and honoring Him.
Bob: I remember I needed to hear that that day, because my tendency is going to be just keep going and keep going fast. Then I played it for you today—
Ann: Oh! Did you play that for us on purpose?
Bob: —for the two of you.
Dave: That’s for us!
Bob: Yes; because you guys lean into activity, and stay busy, and all of that. Here is a cautionary tale from one of our brothers, who has gone before us, that says, “Carve out the time. Get the rest. Refresh your body and soul and don’t keep going, going, going.”
Ann: Well, it was convicting to me; because I never sit; I always go. Not only is there work; but there are kids, and there are grandkids. I’m always trying to meet everyone’s needs. Actually, before we came to record, I remember thinking, “I am not feeling good at all this week. I don’t think I’ve had anything to drink today.” That’s what I thought one day—you know, of just taking care of our bodies and our spirit—that’s really important.
Bob: —and rest.
Bob: God said, “You need rest.”
Ann: That Sabbath is huge.
Bob: It is huge.
Dave: You need it, too, Bob, as you go on to your endeavor.
Bob: I’m with you.
Ann: You are a doer and a goer.
Bob: One other thing Tommy said—this was in another setting/another conference situation—I heard him say this. I’ve quoted this to single people over and over again.
Dave: I have, too.
Bob: He said, “This is your job if you are a single person…” Listen to what he says.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Tommy: One of the great words I ever heard on marriage—whenever you pick a mate, here’s the way you do it—you run as fast as you can for Jesus Christ, commit your life to Him, love Him, sell out to Him, devote to Him; and you run as fast as you can, and you look on your right and left and see who is running the same speed; and you just wave at them. [Laughter] If they stay up with you, after a while, you say, “Come on over!”; and you run together.
What I wanted to do was win people to Christ; what my wife wanted to do was win people to Christ. She wanted to spend her life in the sharing of the gospel; I wanted to do in the sharing of the gospel. She wanted to bring kids to the Lord; I wanted to have children that loved the Lord. She wanted a Christian home; I wanted that. We just said, “Heck, let’s do it together”; and we did it together. That’s the way you get married.
Bob: You run as hard and as fast toward Jesus; and if you see somebody running in the same direction, at the same speed, take a second look; say, “Come on over!”
Dave: “You just wave at them.”
Bob: I love that!
Ann: We’ve used that so many times, but it’s because it’s so good.
Bob: It is so good.
Then, on the subject of singleness, we had a conversation with Elisabeth Elliot. I’ve never forgotten this; she was talking about the gift of singleness. She said, “Every single person wants to know, ‘Gee, do I have the gift of singleness?’” Here is how she explained it; this was so good.
[Previous FamilyLife Today Broadcast]
Elisabeth: Women will often say to me, “I just know that I don’t have the gift of singleness. I just know I am supposed to be married; I’m so maternal; I just feel that God wants to give me a husband, and family, and all this.” I say to them, “Well, today is Saturday. Are you single?” “Yes.” “Then you have the gift of singleness on this particular Saturday. You must learn to glorify God in the situation where God has assigned you.” I go back to Psalm 16:5: “You have assigned me my portion.”
Bob: Isn’t that genius?
Bob: Do you have the gift of singleness? If you are single, you have the gift of singleness.
Bob: She said a lot of people will say, “But I want to know if I have it like forever.” She would say to them, “I don’t know! [Laughter] Nobody knows whether you have it forever. What we know is you have it today.”
It’s really tied to another principle she shared that I’ve never forgotten when her first husband, Jim Elliot, was martyred in 1956. She’s a new mom, living in Quito, Ecuador. I said, “How/weren’t you overwhelmed by ‘What am I going to do?’” She said, “I learned a very important principle; and that is, do the next thing. Don’t be overwhelmed by ‘What’s next week going to look like?’ Do the next thing.” It’s what Jesus said when He said, “Tomorrow has enough troubles of its own. Just be focused on today.”
Dave: Well, Bob, let me ask you this; because I’m sure listeners are wondering: “What is the next thing for Bob Lepine?” [Laughter]
Bob: The next thing for me is to get a little rest. I mean, I’m staying connected to—
Bob: —to FamilyLife.
Bob: I’m going to be more focused and more intentional with our local church, where I have been pastoring now for 13 years, and a little more time with kids and grandkids. We’re looking forward to that. We’re excited about this chapter, and where we are headed, and where God has us.
But the last 28 years have been a joy; they’ve been a privilege. We’ve tried to sum up, this week, what have been some of the highlights. I hope listeners—as they have a chance to go back and listen to this, and just refresh themselves with these truths that have lived with me now over the last 28 years—I hope they’ve been/I hope that’s been helpful for them.
I need to say here: “Nobody does this alone.” This radio program is not something that I’ve made happen. There is a team here at FamilyLife—you know this—
Dave: Oh, yes.
Bob: —a great team.
Ann: Great team.
Bob: And some of the teammates, who have been a part of this team, have been at this for more than 25 years. I mean, you stop and think: we started FamilyLife Today in 1992. We’ve got colleagues here who have been with us since, essentially, the beginning of the program: people like Christy Bain, who has been my administrative assistant for all of those 28 years. This program is as much a labor of her work as it is my work.
Bob: Tonda Nations, who is continuing to do the research, and the guest interaction—getting things ready for us—she’s going to continue at that. She’s been with us from the beginning; she’s been amazing. Then everyday, as I’ve ended the program and said, “I want to thank our engineer, Keith Lynch,”—Keith has been across the glass for a quarter of a century doing this. It’s unusual—you know this—for people to be at something like this—
Bob: —that long. Listeners may know my voice and have heard me say things; but I’ve been enabled, and set up, and prepared for what I do/helped along by people like Tonda, and Christy, and Keith, and so many others whose names I could mention. It’s been a privilege and a great ride.
I’m excited about what God has as you guys move forward with this.
Dave: Well, I don’t know what to say besides, “Thank you.” I’m looking over there at Keith.
Ann: I know what to say.
Dave: Keith loves Jesus; you love Jesus—all those people you mentioned—they love Jesus. They love the listener—
Dave: —who, often, we don’t even get to meet. We love you.
Ann: That’s kind of what I was going to say. As you listen to a radio or a podcast, you always wonder [emotion in voice]: “Is it real? What they are talking about—are they living it?” “Do they love Jesus the way they talk about Him?” and “Does their life reflect the principles that they have been teaching?”
Bob, you do; you are the real deal. Everyone that you mentioned is, too. Your integrity, your faithfulness, your love for Mary Ann, your wife, and your kids—it spills all over, and your love for Jesus is foremost. I think that’s why we all trust you—we trust your voice; we trust your life—and you have blessed us immensely.
You’ve really mentored Dave and [me]. We can’t thank you enough for your faithfulness to God, to us, to this team, and to your family. You are pretty amazing, and we really love you.
Bob: Well, you guys know how thrilled I am at what God has in store for you and for the future of this; and I’ll be listening. I’ll send you emails and say, “You should have asked this question…” [Laughter] “Why didn’t you ask…”
Ann: I hope so.
Dave: Sure you will! Yes, we’ll need it. [Laughter]
Ann: We will.
Bob: Let me just pray for you guys as we close this.
Father, thank You for Dave and Ann, for the way You have gifted them, for their passion for You, their desire to see others come to know You and live as faithful followers of Your Son Jesus. I pray Your blessing on them and on this program, on this team as things move forward. Lord, keep Your hand on this program. Keep using it in the lives of so many people every day. We ask it in Jesus’s name. Amen.
As we wrap things up today, I want to remind you that all of the things we’ve talked about this week—the 28 principles that we’ve gone through—these conversations we’re making available on a flash drive, along with the original programs from which those ideas came through the years. That flash drive is available to those of you who can make a donation to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today, going forward.
Your donation today is going to be matched dollar for dollar. We’re getting down to the wire. This matching-gift fund that has been made available to us through the month of May goes away pretty soon. In order for us to take full advantage of the fund, we need to hear from you today. In addition to the flash drive, we’re going to send you a couple of books from Aaron and Jamie Ivey about marriage.
And those of you who can join us as monthly Legacy Partners, and help support the ministry on an ongoing basis, in addition to the flash drive and the books, we’re going to send you a certificate to attend an upcoming Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway, either this spring or into the fall as the getaways start up again; we’re excited about that. Your donations over the next 12 months are going to be matched, dollar for dollar, as long as there is money available in that matching-gift fund.
If you can become a Legacy Partner today, or make a one-time donation, go to FamilyLifeToday.com to donate; or call 1-800-358-6329; 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and the word, “TODAY.” Extend the reach of FamilyLife Today through your giving. Thanks, in advance, for whatever you’re able to do.
A final word of thanks here to you as listeners: the time we have spent together, over the last 28 years, has been meaningful for me. I hope it’s been meaningful for you as well, and I will miss the regular connection with you. Thanks for the kind notes you’ve sent through the years. Thanks for the suggestions we’ve gotten from you through the years; those have been helpful as well. I am confident that the best years are ahead for FamilyLife Today.
With that, we’ve got to wrap things up for this week. Thanks for joining us. I hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend. I hope you have a refreshing weekend, and I hope you can tune in Monday. Dave and Ann are going to talk with Levi and Jennie Lusko. They are going to share about a critical moment in their family’s life. I won’t go into all the details now, but it’s a powerful story. I hope you can tune in on Memorial Day for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, who has been a great friend and a trusted companion over the years. Also, I want to thank Bruce Goff, who added some help today, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. Join us back again Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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