FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Leaving A Different Spiritual Legacy

with Jack and Lisa Hibbs | May 21, 2014
Play Pause

You can't change the past, but you can change your children's future. Jack and Lisa Hibbs know. Jack survived his mother's attempted abortion. His father left when he learned of the pregnancy. Lisa's mom died when she was five, and her strict stepmother made her feel unwanted and unloved. Jack and Lisa tell how God intervened and gave them new lives and a new legacy in Him.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • You can't change the past, but you can change your children's future. Jack and Lisa Hibbs know. Jack survived his mother's attempted abortion. His father left when he learned of the pregnancy. Lisa's mom died when she was five, and her strict stepmother made her feel unwanted and unloved. Jack and Lisa tell how God intervened and gave them new lives and a new legacy in Him.

  • 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.

You can’t change the past, but you can change your children’s future. Jack and Lisa Hibbs know. Jack and Lisa tell how God gave them new lives and a new legacy in Him.

MP3 Download Transcript

Leaving A Different Spiritual Legacy

With Jack and Lisa Hibbs
May 21, 2014
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: When you look back on your first years of marriage, do you ever feel like you were just fumbling around trying to figure out how to make a marriage work? Here’s Pastor Jack Hibbs.

Jack: That’s the right word—fumbled around—because how many of us have experienced this?—where you were brought up in whatever environment, and you decide: “I am not going to be like my mom,” or, “I am not going to be like my dad in that area of life.”

And you embark upon a marriage—you embark upon your children. Even though you’ve made that oath, with yourself and with the heavens, you’re not going to say or do that thing; and then, lo and behold, that very attitude is formed in you. And you said you would never be like that.

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, May 21st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. What can local churches do so that more and more couples are better prepared for the challenges they’ll face in marriage and in raising a family? We’ll talk to Pastor Jack Hibbs and his wife Lisa today about that. Stay tuned.



And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You know, if our listeners were ever to come visit us, here in Little Rock, and get a tour of the facility—which you’re welcome to do—we’d love to have you stop by and see what’s going on, here at FamilyLife—but on the second floor, there’s a hallway that has four banners that hang from it. The four banners really focus on the four core messages that—it is what FamilyLife’s all about.

Dennis: Right.

Bob: Message number one is about your relationship with God because all of our human relationships come from that. If we don’t have that right, our human relationships aren’t going to be right. Second core message is our marriage relationship—the strength and stability / the covenant nature of the marriage relationship.



The third banner talks about the unique assignment that God has given to men, as husbands, and the unique assignment God has given to women, as wives. We believe those are spelled out clearly in Scripture. And then the fourth banner is the banner that talks about our responsibility to pass on a legacy of spiritual vitality to the next generation.

I was thinking about those banners as I was thinking about our guests today because I thought, “They would ‘Amen,’ on each one of those, I think.”

Dennis: Our guests were both given a different type of heritage, and they are in the process of leaving a different legacy. Jack and Lisa Hibbs join us on FamilyLife Today. Lisa, Jack, welcome to Little Rock!

Jack: It’s a far cry from Southern California, but we are delighted to be here.

Lisa: Yes. We are.

Dennis: Glad you’re here—glad you’re here. Jack and Lisa founded Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, in Southern California. How many years ago did you start that church?



Jack: Well, we started as a home Bible study in 1990 with six of us, and the Lord’s blessed! We have more than six now. [Laughter]

Dennis: Good!

Jack: Somewhere between nine or ten thousand adults attending.

Dennis: Wow!

Jack: Yes.

Dennis: How many children?

Jack: A lot of kids—lot of kids. I don’t know.

Dennis: A lot of kids.

Bob: And marriage and family’s been a big part of what the church’s purpose is; right?

Jack: It’s a big part. It’s increasing because what we see—the age of those attending—we’re very encouraged because there’re young families—lots of kids. Because of that, yes, we have focused hard on family. It’s something that we see vital to, of course, Christianity and beyond—even our nation—we need stronger families.

Bob: Did I hear right that you guys have utilized The Art of Marriage® video series—that we put together—at your church?

Jack: We absolutely have.

Bob: Yes, and tell us what the response has been to that.

Jack: Every response that we have is a gathering that is packed out and sold out—not that we sell tickets—but I mean packed out.

Bob: Right.

Dennis: All six people came, then? They all came. [Laughter]



Jack: It’s just a great success—which just, again, adds to the vision of strengthening the family.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: Yes, and a church needs to be doing that. I applaud you, as a pastor, helping to give leadership.

You two have been married more than 30 years. You have two daughters, who are married / two grandchildren. You’ve crafted a book together—your first book—that’s called Turnaround at Home

Jack: Right.

Dennis: —the whole concept of a turnaround. Now that I’ve been through your book—makes a lot of sense because, starting with you, Jack—as a boy, you stuttered.

Jack: Yes, severe.

Dennis: Your home should have been a place that protected you, but it wasn’t. Take us there and explain what kind of family you came from.

Jack: You know, it was the exact opposite of what you just articulated. My story starts out in the book with something that I had a chance to overhear. It was an afternoon—it was in between both school and football practice. I’d gone home to catch a lunch and then head back to school.



My mom had no idea that I was in the room next door. She had a neighbor over. She was telling the neighbor that this process of her life—when she had moved from Hawaii with my dad to San Diego—she’d become pregnant. That was not part of the plan. I had an older brother and an older sister, and that was it for my dad. She was pregnant, terrified, and scared. Eventually, my dad found out about that—was very upset with that—moved. My dad moved to Alaska. My mom and her—

Bob: Wait; wait. He moved to Alaska in the middle of her pregnancy?

Jack: Very early on in the pregnancy. He was very upset about that—wound up getting a job in Alaska.

Bob: So, he is so angry about you—

Jack: Yes; yes—so angry. My mom—very alone and scared—on December 24th, Christmas Eve, 1957, she attempted an abortion. It failed. She was found—taken to the hospital—where she and I stayed.



I was born on January 15th. But from that time on—my dad came back home when I was about nine months old—but for that whole period of time, growing up—just not welcomed in the family—just didn’t feel part of that. My dad, again—what the book’s about—he grew up in a home that was not all that loving. It’s just his way.

Dennis: He signed up for the military and even had to lie about his age; you said?

Jack: Yes, he did that. Listen, I don’t want to throw my dad under the bus because, again, he was acting upon the tools that he had growing up—but, making a long story short—just never connected with my dad—never quite had the opportunity.

The real turning point for me was probably about the age of nine. He had discovered, “I have to get this kid, Jack, plugged into something meaningful,”—put me in his truck—which was a delight. I couldn’t believe it—drove me down to the local—



Dennis: Now, wait a second. You couldn’t believe he put you in his truck.

Jack: Yes; because I did not have access to my dad, growing up. It was a very, very cold—very harsh response toward me—in anything and in everything. On top of the fact—and I explain this in the book—I stuttered really badly. So again, in his way, he’d put his hands on his hips—that’s the picture I have of my dad, growing up. He’d have his hands on his hips—he would be looking at me. My dad was an ex-Marine. He would just say, “Spit it out!” You know: “What are you trying to say?! What’s wrong with you?!”—which is not good therapy for a kid’s stuttering. I just learned how to tuck everything in / hide. Really, what it wound up resulting in—was a very isolated childhood / very rejected—but it spawned within me a lot of violence.

Bob: You were starting to tell us about a landmark moment when your dad took you off to sign you up for football. You were what?—nine years old, at this point?

Jack: Nine years old—never forget it. It was unique because my dad specifically said: “Get in the truck. We’re going to go down to the park.”



That had never happened before. I thought, “Oh, my goodness—the heavens have parted,” you know. I don’t know what his motives were, but I thank God for them because he signed me up for the local contact football team—for Junior All-American Football. It was the first time in my life that I thought I had some sort of a connection with a father-figure—with my dad—because every boy—we talk about this in the book—every child longs for a relationship with the father, but so much more the boy.

So, that’s what I thought would be a turning point for us. It didn’t exactly work out that way, but the real redeeming moment was a phone call I got from my dad. He said: “Jackson, I went to the doctor today. I have a short time to live. Can you tell me about Jesus again?”

Dennis: Oh, wow.



Jack: And you know, when you have the opportunity to lead somebody to Christ—that’s a relative, let alone your father / let alone a man that you never had much of a connection with—I wanted him to get into heaven so badly that I started giving him the gospel in Genesis. Really! We were on the phone for a good two hours. He was silent. He listened to the whole thing. He accepted the Lord on the phone; and seven days later, my dad had passed. But it was absolutely remarkable.

So, again, that’s part of the spirit of Turnaround. Our God is a God that turns things around.

Bob: He is.

Jack: He’s done it in our lives—He’s done for us both, Lisa and I; He’s done it for both of you.

Bob: Right.

Jack: And He continues to do it.

Dennis: He really has. Lisa, you had your own turnaround, as well; except, yours is a bit different. You say you grew up in two very distinctly different Christian families. Explain what you mean by that.

Lisa: Well, the first one—I was very young. I don’t have a great recollection of it because my mother died when I was five. I was the baby of seven kids. From what I understand from my older siblings, I was tied to my mother’s apron strings.



It was a very loving, big, loud family; but when she passed, you know, things obviously changed.

My dad remarried within the year. It was very quickly that he knew he needed help—he had these seven kids. My stepmother came in with two kids. She was widowed as well. Someone put them on a blind date, you know—which is crazy—because she took on seven step kids. To this day, I cannot imagine being a widow with two kids and then taking on seven kids—would be crazy. But, she came on—really strong / very strict—a good Christian woman—but a lot of the law / not a lot of the love. So, it was very harsh.

Dennis: You were a little girl.

Lisa: Right; definitely. Later on, that became hard for me; but I totally rebelled, as a teenager—I just was fed up—you know, couldn’t handle it.



I remember having conversations with God, telling Him, “This isn’t really about us—but this isn’t between me and You—it’s between me and her.”

Dennis: So your rebellion was against your stepmom.

Lisa: Oh, big time. I wanted to hurt her so bad, emotionally, because she was emotionally hurting me so badly. I wanted to hurt her back. So, I started sneaking out and doing things I shouldn’t have been doing, knowing—oh, my goodness, I knew right from wrong—so I would go and do these things, but I would be so guilt-ridden later because I knew it was wrong. But I just had this war going on inside of me that I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Bob: Right. The spiritual turnaround for you came, really, when you met Jack; didn’t it?

Lisa: Exactly. Yes, because that’s right—he started taking me. I grew up in a little Baptist church. It was wonderful. I have great memories; and yet, I didn’t know how to live the Word of God. It just wasn’t part of me. I knew all the Bible stories.



I knew David and Goliath and all of that—and I believed it 100 percent—but I didn’t know how to apply verses to my everyday life—my everyday problems—and trust the Lord in each one of those.

Bob: Yes.

Lisa: Had I known that, as a teen, I don’t think I would have rebelled to the extent that I did.

Bob: Yes.

Dennis: Jack, you’d been a Christian about ten months when you connected with Lisa.

Jack: Yes, about that—right.

Dennis: Why did you ask her out?

Jack: Wow! That’s a great question. It’s—I wish I could tell you some incredibly amazing spiritual story how we met—but I was actually kind of working “out of my office”, so to speak, for a construction company.

Dennis: You were how old at the time?

Jack: I was 20 at the time.

Dennis: And Lisa was how old?

Jack: She was 18 at the time.

Dennis: Yes.

Jack: I was working, as I said, out of the office. The office was the beach—the Newport Beach. I was playing volleyball. All I had to do was organize these construction crews, and all I needed was a phone. A friend and I were playing volleyball. We saw Lisa and her friend. A friend of mine had told me: “Hey Jack, there’s a really good Christian girl right there. I know her from school.”



I actually—my experience, as a Christian man, at that time, with Christian girls—wasn’t much different than the world. I had built up a wall of defense. I just thought to myself, “There are no Christian girls out there.”

Bob: Wow!

Jack: Well, this friend of mine said, “She’s different.” I have to tell you—at 18 years of age, I got a chance to see her Bible. Our first date was to Calvary Chapel. I got to see her Bible. It was marked up, and tagged, and worn out. That impressed me, but she was blown away with what I thought was normal church. I’d never been to a church before—but it was verse by verse / expositional teaching—with Pastor Chuck Smith there in Costa Mesa.

Bob: Right.

Jack: It was just plugging along—plugging away. She went and just absolutely—having that faith in Jesus—but not the instruction given on a daily basis. It changed everything.

Bob: Yes.

Jack: So, it was a joy.

Dennis: You dated a short period of time and got married. How did you ask her to marry you?



Jack: I actually was on my way to work one Saturday morning, and I had bought a ring. I just—praying and concluding, “There’s no way that I want to live the rest of my life without this girl.” You know, today, people would think, “Well, you’re too young.” I have to tell you—if we could have gotten married sooner, we would have gotten married sooner [Laughter] because I remember driving to her brother’s house—she was babysitting her brother’s house. It was about four o’clock in the morning. I knocked on the door—

Dennis: Four o’clock in the morning!

Jack: Yes. I was on my way to Santa Monica—

Dennis: Did you know he was coming?

Lisa: No.

Jack: No.

Dennis: Did you know he was bringing a ring?

Lisa: No.

Jack: No.

Bob: Did you have a surfboard in the back of the car?

Jack: No, I had to go to work. This was a different day, and I had to go to Santa Monica that day. I’ll never forget it—knocked on the door. She opens the door and says, “What are you doing here?” I said, “Listen, I have to get to work, but will you marry me?” She said, “Yes!” If I remember right, I gave you the ring, right then and there; but you hardly opened up the screen door. She was probably in a daze.



At about nine o’clock that morning, I called her back and said, “Do you realize what you did this morning?” [Laughter] I could hear the buzz behind her in the phone call. Her sisters were talking. She goes, “Yes; but you know,”—this is terrible to admit in this program—but she goes, “but tonight, when you get home, you need to talk to my dad.” I should have done that first! [Laughter] But it was amazing. It was awesome, and—

Dennis: So, you picked out the ring without her? You didn’t know what kind of ring she wanted?

Jack: Oh, I had a good chance. She’s very simple—very, very practical girl. So, it was a very simple solitaire ring; and it worked.

Bob: I did the same thing. I picked out the ring without Mary Ann looking at it. I mean, we’d dated long enough that I had a pretty good idea.

Dennis: Okay, we’re three for three here. [Laughter]

So, I want to know: “When you opened the screen door, what were you thinking, at that point, at four a.m.?”

Lisa: I thought he was crazy; but I, you know, yes, we were already that close—where we knew that this was what we wanted to do.



So, it went really quickly, obviously; and we were kids. I mean, we were—when I look back, it’s like—I was 19 when we got married. You were 21. So, —

Bob: And you didn’t know what you didn’t know—when you got married.

Lisa: That’s true.

Jack: That’s right.

Lisa: That’s very true.

Bob: I mean, you had no idea how your families of origin were going to affect your bonding and blending together, as husband and wife.

Lisa: No.

Bob: Didn’t have any sense of that; did you?

Jack: No idea. In fact, Lisa held up the book on the flight in here today. She said, “You know, if we would have known what we’ve written in this book—if we would have known this—how much different rearing our children would have been.” That’s the whole point of the book.

Dennis: I want to read what you wrote, at this point. This is really Lisa speaking here. She said: “I desperately wanted something different for my children. And yet, here Jack and I were—two very imperfect people with vastly different upbringings—hoping to turn things around with our own family.”



Bob: Yes.

Jack: Yes. That’s right.

Dennis: You know what? There are a lot of people who get married with that hope, —

Jack: Yes.

Dennis: —but they don’t turn it around. They end up going into a dead end themselves.

Bob: Well, here’s the thing—because I remember having the same feeling when Mary Ann and I got married. Here’s what we knew—we knew we didn’t want to repeat the mistakes we’d seen our parents make; okay?

Lisa: That’s right.

Jack: Exactly.

Bob: So we thought, “We’re not going to do that.” Well, it’s good to know what you’re not going to do;—

Lisa: Right.

Bob: —but it’s better to know what you are going to do. We didn’t know what we were going to do.

Lisa: Exactly.

Jack: Right.

Bob: We just knew what we weren’t going to do.

Lisa: Right.

Jack: That’s right.

Bob: And so, now, we’re just fumbling around for: “Well, we’re not going to do that; but we’ll try something else out”; right?

Lisa: Yes.

Jack: That’s the right word—fumbled around—because how many of us have experienced this?—where you were brought up in whatever environment, and you decide: “I am not going to be like my mom,” or, “I am not going to be like my dad in that area of life.”



And you embark upon a marriage—you embark upon your children. Even though you’ve made that oath, with yourself and with the heavens, you’re not going to say or do that thing; and then, lo and behold, that very thing comes out of your mouth, or that very attitude is formed in you. And you said you would never be like that.

Bob: Yes.

Jack: We address that in the book because it’s God’s desire, through the power of His Word, to change that around because, even though we might protest what we were given, it’s been impressed upon us.

Bob: Yes.

Jack: We can only use what tools we have in our box—

Bob: Yes.

Jack: —good, bad, or ugly. So, the whole point is to change that toolbox.

Bob: I’ve talked to young couples who are thinking about getting married. They can relate to this because they can say, “It’s kind of like—I’ve been to Poughkeepsie. I’ll tell you what—we’re not going to Poughkeepsie; alright?’” I go, “Okay—” [Laughter]

Dennis: Bob, Bob, Bob!

Jack: I have friends in—

Dennis: We have listeners in Poughkeepsie. [Laughter]

Jack: I have friends in—

Bob: But they look and they go, “Look, I know we’re not going to Poughkeepsie,” and I go, “Okay, so where are you going?” They go, “I don’t know—but we’re not going to Poughkeepsie.” Well, to make a marriage work, it’s not enough to know where you’re not going.



Lisa: Yes.

Bob: You have to know where you are going.

Jack: Amen.

Lisa: That’s true.

Bob: That’s where couples just don’t have that blueprint out in front of them.

Dennis: Well, you mentioned the word “blueprint.” Frankly, that’s why we started FamilyLife, back in 1976. I decided there were three relationships in life I was not going to naturally be good at: my relationship with God, my relationship with my wife, and third, my relationship with my children.

I thought: “What better job in the world could you have?—than to become a student of the blueprints from Scripture and find out how you relate to God—rightly understanding who He is—how you better love your spouse, and finally, how to pass on the right kind of legacy, just like you guys write about in your book, to the next generation.” Really, this passage kind of sums it up. It’s in Philippians, Chapter 3, verse 13. Paul says, “Brothers, I did not consider that I had made it my own; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,—



—“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” That’s what we’re offering people who are listening to our broadcast today—

Jack: That’s right.

Dennis: —that the tomb is empty. Jesus Christ defeated death. He can defeat what is defeating you, as a couple. He can bring marriages back to life. He can turn good marriages into great marriages.

It’s interesting now—looking back, since 1976—we’ve had over three million people go through the Weekend to Remember®—now, over 400, 000 who’ve been through The Art of Marriage. It’s all a desire to equip people in life’s most important relationship.

Bob: A desire to give them—not just the places not to go—but to give them a map on how to go where they ought to go.

Dennis: It’s the blueprints that we’re talking about.



Bob: Yes; and how to leave to your children a stronger spiritual legacy than the one you received, which is the subtitle of the book you guys have written, called Turnaround at Home, which we have in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. I want to encourage our listeners to get a copy of Jack and Lisa Hibbs’ book, Turnaround at Home.

Go to and click in the upper left-hand corner where it says, “Go Deeper.” There’s information available about Jack and Lisa’s book. You can order it from us, online. There’s information about the remaining FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaways that are happening in June. There’s also a link to information about the upcoming I Still Do one-day marriage events that we’re hosting in Chicago, and Portland, and in Washington, DC. The last event is a simulcast that’s happening worldwide.

You can find out about how you and your church can work together to build stronger marriages and stronger families when you go to and click the link that says, “Go Deeper,” in the upper left-hand side of the screen.



Or if you have questions for us, call 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329; that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”

Recently, Mary Ann and I were sitting down and looking at this summer’s calendar and all of the things that we have going on—there’s some travel, stuff at church that’s happening. I mean, summer is a different season—when life is just at a different speed, and you’re in a different rhythm.

We realize that here, at FamilyLife, because, as we go through the summer months, it’s not unusual for us to see a shortfall in our donations. In other words, what it costs us to produce and syndicate FamilyLife Today is more than we receive in donations from listeners. Again, we know listeners are busy—other things going on—and making a donation to FamilyLife Today just kind of gets set aside.



We had some friends in the ministry who came to us recently and offered to help us with that expected shortfall by helping us build a reserve so that we can get through the summer months in good shape. They have agreed to match every donation that comes into FamilyLife, between now and Fathers’ Day, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to a total of $410,000.

We’ve been letting listeners know about that. Some of you have responded. We’re grateful for the donations we’ve received so far. We still have a ways to go to take full advantage of the matching gift. So, can we ask you to consider going to FamilyLife Today and making a $20, or $25, or a $50 or $100 donation—whatever you’re able to do in support of the ministry? We would very much appreciate hearing from you. You can donate, online, at; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation over the phone. Or if you’d like to write a check and mail it to us, you can do that as well.



Our mailing address is P O Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. Our zip code is 72223.

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to continue our conversation with Jack and Lisa Hibbs about what moms and dads can do to leave a different legacy—a different spiritual legacy—to our children than maybe the one we received from our parents. 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 next time 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 to you. 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? 

Copyright © 2014 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.