FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Summer Reading List, Part 2

with Various Guests | July 26, 2007
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Want to immerse yourself in a really good book this summer but don't know which one to pick up? Join us for today's broadcast when author Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, and author and missionary Gracia Burnam offer some of their best suggestions.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Want to immerse yourself in a really good book this summer but don't know which one to pick up? Join us for today's broadcast when author Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, and author and missionary Gracia Burnam offer some of their best suggestions.

  • 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.

Want to immerse yourself in a really good book this summer but don’t know which one to pick up?

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Summer Reading List, Part 2

With Various Guests
July 26, 2007
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[television theme songs]

 If these are some of the familiar happy sounds that fill your home, it's time to say bye-bye as you take a little vacation from television.  Stay tuned.

[more television theme songs]

 And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition and, folks, get excited, the countdown is on.  August is almost here.  It's that month we've all been looking forward …

Dennis: That is not the way to announce this.

Bob: I'm just reading what you wrote here.

Dennis: I've always said, Bob, you're the best …

Bob: This is the month we've been looking forward to.

Dennis: You're the – I may have to requalify what I've said about you as being the best in radio.  You're absolutely terrific but, Bob, there's no heart.  You've got to put some heart in this.

Bob: Well …

Dennis: The listener needs to be motivated, and so do you.

Bob: Yeah, I guess we all do.  Here's the deal – every year, during the month of August, our fearless leader, Dennis Rainey, leads us into the vast wasteland of no – no, I guess TV is the vast wasteland, isn't it?

Dennis: There you go, thank you.  The toxic – leads us away from the toxic waste dump …

Bob: … of television …

Dennis: … and the vast wasteland of TV.

Bob: You encourage us to take the month, and we are, this week, talking to some of our friends just to see if we can get some book recommendations for things we could be reading during the month of August, since we're going to have plenty of free time on our hands.

 And we've got our friend, Nancy Leigh DeMoss …

Dennis: I'm going to go back and read Hezekiah 3:5 – "Thou shalt not whine."

Bob: Nancy Leigh DeMoss – I think she's on the phone with us.  Nancy is the host of "Revive our Hearts," the daily radio program that's heard on many of these same stations.  She, herself, is an author, and she reads a lot of good books.

Dennis: That's right.  Nancy, Nancy, are you there?

Nancy: Yes.

Dennis: This is Dennis.

Nancy: Hi.

Dennis: How are you doing, friend?

Nancy: Doing well, thank you.

Bob: How is Joshua doing?

Nancy: Joshua is a great man of faith and courage.

Bob: Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous?

Dennis: Fear not.

Bob: Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged …

Nancy: … yes …

Bob: … for the Lord Himself is with you wherever you may go.

Dennis: What are you doing?  Are you spending some time with Joshua?  Or rewriting it?

Bob: She's renaming her radio program, "Joshua Today."  You know, I was thinking about what we wanted to talk to you about today and other than the life of Joshua, is there anything you've had time to read recently?

Nancy: You know, I am almost always reading a biography, and I highly recommend those.  I teethed on biographies of people that God has used in significant ways in the past.  My heroes, with rare exceptions, are people who have already gone to glory.  So it's people like George Mueller and Hudson Taylor.  I've been reading one recently about Amy Carmichael.  It's actually the story of how her – the principles behind her work there with children in India.  But I keep my head and heart in biographies of those God has used in significant ways.

Dennis: I want to take you in another direction for just a second.  What's the best secular book you've read in the past five years?  Because, undoubtedly, you've picked up either a novel or a book, self-development, of some kind, and read it.  I'm just curious.

Nancy: Well, I'd hate to say the best, but I am a fan now of David McCullough and his writings.  He's written some wonderful historical books and biographies.  I'm just finishing his John Adams and read his "1776," and, you know, when I was in school studying history when I should have been paying attention, I really wasn't all that interested, and now I'm very interested because I realize how much history is his story – the story of God's works in this world.  And he's really a secular historian, but he's a masterful storyteller.

Dennis: He's actually too good, Nancy, because Barbara read that same book, and I kind of said goodbye to her for about – I don't know how many days, because it's a thick …

Nancy: Weeks, weeks, we're talking weeks.

Dennis: It's a thick book, and it's not that she's a slow reader, but she got into that book, and she would kind of read some of it to me, and I do agree with you, it really does have some great stories in it.

Nancy: Well, and to see the perseverance and the persistence of those men who are our founding fathers, and how they had courage and humility and conviction and just the staying power.  And today we're reaping and living with a lot of the blessings of the investment those men made – some of them believers, some of them not, but many of them God-fearing men, and it gives me a sense of the need to be courageous, and to live a life based on conviction.  And I start to feel like a wimp when I look at my own whining and circumstances I face, and then I see the length and the odds that these men fought against to give birth to a nation where we could have the freedom we do today, and it gives me courage to press on.

Bob: Well, you've given us some great recommendations, and I know your TV will be off in August, right?

Nancy: Now that you've said that, for sure.


 You know, I made a decision about TV a lot of years ago, because it was a need in my life to do this.  I'm not saying everybody else needs to do this, but I found that I was too easily – I live alone, and I found that I was too easily using the television as a companion.  After a long day of work, I'd come home and turn it on and kind of tune out the world and veg out and felt I was kind of entitled to this, and I found myself getting desensitized to things that really matter a lot in terms of your own heart condition, and the Lord brought me to a personal commitment not to watch television anytime I was alone, because then if I was with somebody else, I had to be intentional about what I was watching, and more accountable and, again, I'm not telling anybody else what they should do, but I can heartily recommend some kind of intentional, conscious restraint as it comes to TV usage as being a really hugely worthwhile thing if we care about eternity and having our hearts and souls and relationships be what God intended them to be.

Dennis: You know, I appreciate you and appreciate these recommendations, and we love your ministry and your writing as well and just appreciate you sharing this with our listeners.

Nancy: Well, thank you, Dennis and Bob, I appreciate you both so much.

Bob: Good talking to you.

Dennis: Bye-bye.

Bob: You know, I guess I should have known better than to have us call somebody who doesn't watch much TV, anyway, you know?

Dennis: That wasn't a good choice on your part.

Bob: I wasn't going to get an ally for trying to squash this campaign, was I?

Dennis: You know, I think as we talk about really encouraging people to turn the TV off, we ought to go visit with someone who is in a league all his own.  I mean, like, the Super Bowl champ of the world and find out what he's reading.  Now, wouldn't you really like to know what Tony Dungy reads, coach of the Indianapolis Colts?

Bob: Do you suppose during the season he has time to read anything?

Dennis: I think – well, you know what?  He's a great leader, and great leaders do read.

Bob: Well, Coach Dungy is on the line with us.  Coach, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Tony: Hey, how are you guys?

Bob: Good, Coach.  We haven't had a chance to say congratulations.

Tony: Well, thank you.

Bob: I know you've heard that over and over again over the last several months.

Tony: We have, but it never gets old, that's for sure.

Dennis: Well, we were pulling for you, and we know that God certainly has to grant favor in a lot of decisions along the course of a season and certainly in the playoffs to end up even in the big game.

 You know, Coach, we're challenging our listeners to turn off the TV in the month of August.

Bob: Except for your pre-season games.


Dennis: No, we didn't say that, Bob.

Tony: No, we can turn off the TV.

Dennis: Turn it off, turn it off, listen to it on the radio, but we're asking them to pick up a good book, and so what I'd like you to share with our listeners – I want to ask you to share two good books, one, that stimulated you to grow as a man who is following Christ.  The other book I'd like to – I'd just like to know, as a man, what book have you read recently that has helped you as a coach in decision-making and leadership?

Tony: Well, I can't give you one that I've read recently, but since this is the month of August, I can recommend one.  There's going to be a book coming out called "Quiet Strength," and it's actually a book that we wrote to talk just about that – about the life lessons that we learned on the way to the Super Bowl, and if I was going to recommend one, I'd certainly recommend that one.

Dennis: All right.

Bob: I'm adding that to my list right now.  That's great.

Tony: But one that I would recommend, a guy by the name of Dr. Ben Carson, a tremendous Christian man, he's the head of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, and he wrote a book called "Gifted Hands," and it's one that I read, my brother read, and my son has actually read, and it talks about his, really, going from a mediocre student in elementary school and junior high to being number one at University of Michigan, number one at Yale Medical School and, you know, being put in the position that he's in now and really feeling that his hands were gifted by the Lord to do the job that he's doing.  And it's one that kind of transformed me, because I felt like I was put in a similar position by the Lord, and that's one that I would highly recommend – "Gifted Hands" by Ben Carson.

Bob: It is a powerful, compelling story, isn't it?

Tony: Yes, yes.

Bob: As you look at that book, who would be the person that you would most want to read that story?

Tony: I would think young people, number one, who are searching for direction, what they want to do in life, but also parents who might have really gifted kids that they can't figure out quite how to get through to them or what direction they need to pursue and helping that young person really achieve their potential.  So I think either one of those groups of people would be really interested in that.

Bob: And have you ever met Dr. Carson?

Tony: I have.  As a matter of fact, I was on the same program with him in Florida about four years ago, and he has a scholarship program aimed at young people that perform well academically, and we're actually gotten involved with that and really gotten that kicked off here in Indiana, and it's been wonderful.  I've actually spent four or five real special occasions with him, and he's just a tremendous, tremendous person.

Dennis: Coach, I want to ask a personal favor again – I'm sure no one's asked this in the past few months, either, but in the next year or so, if Bob and I can find a way to get to Indy again, you willing to sit down again in the control room there where you shoot your show and let us do a couple more interviews about being a dad and some of the recent lessons you've learned?

Tony: I would love to do that, because I have learned a lot of lessons since we last talked, and some things that I really thought were true and believed true, they've really been hammered home, and I feel even more strongly about some of those beliefs.  So, yeah, I would love to do that.

Bob: Coach, thanks a bunch.

Tony: Well, thank you very much, and it's always an honor and a pleasure to be on with you.

Dennis: Thanks, Coach.

Tony: Alrighty, thanks.

Dennis: Bob?

Bob: Yeah?

Dennis: Do you think maybe he liked being on our show enough that …

Bob: You want season tickets, don't you?  That's what you're looking for here.  I just want to know …

Dennis: I don't want 50-yard line.

Bob: I just want to know if I can watch any of the pre-season games during August.

Dennis: It does need to be on the 15.

Bob: If it's the Colts game that's on TV, can I watch those?

Dennis: I was looking for a sideline pass, do you think the coach would let me – I could picture myself with a headset.  I could be right there with the coach.

Bob: It would be a Fisher-Price headset is what they'd give you on the sidelines.

Dennis: Who else have we got to call here?  That was great to talk to the coach.  I'm going to read that book on leadership, that sounded good.

Bob: Are you talking about the Ben Carson book or the one that he's written, the "Quiet Strength" book?

Dennis: Well, both of them, actually, but I was thinking of the first one when I said that.

Bob: All right, well, our listeners can go to our website for more information about what the coach was talking about.  In fact, what we've done with the recommendations from each of the folks we've talked with this week is we've made a list of those on the website so folks can review that if they want to.

 And we have another friend who is on the line with us, and some of our listeners may not recognize her name, but a number of years ago, Dennis, we sat down and talked with Gracia Burnham.  Gracia is the widow of Martin Burnham, and listeners may remember that Gracia and Martin were captured by a radical group, the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and were held for more than a year before Martin was finally killed.

Dennis: Lived in the jungle during that period of time, finally, he was murdered by them, and she is – you know, we're going to get to heaven, Bob, and we're going to meet some people in heaven who no one has heard their name, but they have lived quiet lives of faith, and they've made a difference where God put them, and I think Gracia is one of those people.

Bob: I agree, and I think she's on the line with us.  Gracia, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Gracia: Hey, how are you guys?

Dennis: We're doing well.  Thanks for joining us on our broadcast here.

Gracia: So glad to be with you.

Dennis: First of all, I just want to know how you're doing.

Gracia: Things are fine.  My oldest got married last summer, and he's off at college, so just two more kids at home now, but we're doing fine.  We found a new normal, I think.

Dennis: It's been five years since your husband was murdered by that terrorist group.  I know folks want to know just in terms of you processing it now, what's going on in your life personally in terms of how you're looking back on that and just your belief about God and your hope toward the future.  Anything you can say about that?

Gracia: Yes, well, I kept thinking that I would be home for a month, a couple of months, a couple of years, and it would all blow over, and I could probably go back to mission work doing what I wanted to do, and it just hasn't done that.  I still get calls and somehow my story just keeps coming up, and I just kind of take every day as it comes, and I do it with joy.

Bob: And the Lord is at work as much in what you're doing today serving Him as He was five, six, seven years ago, don't you think?

Gracia: Yes, yes, He is.  The hard thing is, when we were on the mission field, we saw what we'd done every day.  You got to the end of the day, you saw the people that you'd fed or the person you'd taken to the hospital.  Here in America, people aren't needy, at least we keep our needs very well hidden and, at the end of the day, you're not sure you did anything worthwhile.

 But it's a privilege, it's an honor.  I'm so happy to do it, and, yes, things are going well.

Dennis: You know, I just want to make a comment, Gracia, about what you've just touched on – the need for joy and hope are, I think, just as important in affluent America as it is in a jungle in the Philippines where you're feeding people every day.  And I just appreciate you being faithful to do both and to accept God's assignment regardless of what it's been.

Bob: And let's get onto the business at hand.  We're encouraging people in the month of August to turn off their television for the whole month, fast from TV, and if they're looking for something to do, we think reading is a good assignment for them, so we'd like some recommendations from you on books that you would think would be profitable for folks to spend time reading in August.

Gracia: Okay, well, I had a teacher in college that told us, "Every year try to read a book about what you do."  So I tried to do that this year, and picked up this book – actually, it was given to me.  It's called "Order from Chaos."  It's not a Christian book, but it's a six-step plan for organizing yourself and your office and your life.  And that book has made me, I think, a better-organized person.

Dennis: Do you remember who wrote that book?

Gracia: Yes, it's Liz Davenport, and it was a great book about getting organize and has nothing to do – well – I'm not even going to say it doesn't have spiritual value, because I think it has done a lot for me stress level in my office.

Bob: Now, do you think of yourself as a fairly well organized person in the first place?

Gracia: I am not organized.

Dennis: Oh, come on, Gracia.

Gracia: Oh, and I am not disciplined.

Dennis: Gracia, you came across so organized when we interviewed you.  Your book was well written, totally logical.  You're saying that your house can become a wreck?

Gracia: Oh, my house upstairs is a wreck, but I knew you were calling, so I'm not up doing my dishes and laundry.


Dennis: You just gave a lot of mothers hope.  You just need to know that.

Gracia: Well, you know what?  You do what you have to do, and laundry and dishes will come later in my day today.

Bob: I'm with you.

Dennis: All right, give us one other book that has really stimulated you to be a Christ-follower.

Gracia: The one that I've read that has impacted me the most lately is called "The Greatest Thing in the World," by Henry Drummond, and it's a treatise on 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and what it really is to love, and it's – oh, my goodness, it's convicting, and it's encouraging for you to be a real person who loves like God does.

Bob: Well, you know, that is what your life has modeled in the last five years with forgiveness, with kindness, with grace.  You have modeled a supernatural love in the midst of your circumstances, and I'm not surprised that that book would be the one that you'd pick.

Gracia: If that's what's happened in my life, it's because God did it.  He is good to use us, and He's good to teach us and make us willing to learn.

Dennis: Well, you are a great model of what that book espouses, and we appreciate you, and we hope you'll come back again and be on FamilyLife Today again, and let us get an update on how you're doing and more of those lessons you've learned.  We love and appreciate you.

Gracia: Well, I would love to do that.  You guys give a call anytime, and thank you for having me today.

Bob: You bet, good to talk to you.

Gracia: Okay, all right.

Dennis: Bye-bye.

Gracia: Bye-bye.

Bob: It's great to catch up with her, and, you know, I'm just sitting here thinking when you get a chance to get recommendations from people who you admire, you're really getting a window into their soul and finding out what shaped their lives, and if you look at them and go, "They've turned out pretty well," then those are good books to read.

Dennis: They really are, and as people think about fasting from TV for the month of August, let me give you three quick tips.  Number one, get a plan for the month.  Think about what you're going to do in advance.

 Secondly, announce it early along with the plan and build a little expectation, all right?  Don't make it sound like Bob has all this week at the beginning of the broadcast.

 And, third, present a unified front as a mom and a dad, a husband or wife, and execute the plan – not the messenger.  Don't execute the messenger.  Just make this work.  It's not that big a deal, and I really predict at the end of the month, you're really going to be glad you turned it off.  In fact, I think, ultimately, Bob is going to so like August, every year you're going to sense a fresh enthusiasm as we continue to roll this out in the future.

Bob: And on what basis do you think that's going to happen?  We've done this now for, what, five, six years?  Hasn't happened yet, has it?  No, it really hasn't.

Dennis: Well, is it going to happen?

Bob: I guess if you want it to happen …

Dennis: Do you see the logic in this, Bob?

Bob: If you want it to happen, it's going to happen.

Dennis: You're very logical.  Doesn't this make sense?

Bob: Here is what does make sense for our listeners.  Those who are going to join us, go to our website at  They want to review the recommendations that we've received from folks we've talked to on today's program.  You'll find that on our website at 

 Our team has also put together some recommended books for parents to read to children, for children to read themselves, some great storybooks, and also some helpful books on marriage and parenting, and all of this is listed on our website at  When you get to the home page, click the red button you see in the middle of the page that says "Go," and that will take you to the area of the site where there is more information about what books are available from us here at FamilyLife Today and how you can stock up in time for your August TV fast.

 Again, the website is, click the red button that says "Go," and then you can review what books are available, and you can order online, if you'd like.  Or call 1-800-358-6329.  That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.  Someone on our team can let you know about different books that are available and make arrangements to have copies of some of those books sent out to you.

 Let me also encourage you, when you get in touch with us, if you are able to help us out with a donation of any amount here during the month of July, we'd love to send you four audio CDs that feature messages from our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.  These are messages that deal with subjects like communication, resolving conflict, sexual intimacy, great messages that you can enjoy together.

 In fact you can go on a date night and listen to these messages in the car while you drive out for dinner or on your way to play miniature golf or do something during your August TV fast time.  These would be great to listen to and, again, they're our way of saying thanks for supporting the ministry of FamilyLife Today.

 You can make a donation online at, and if you do that, when you come to the keycode box on the donation form, just type in the letters "WTR," and we'll know to send you these CDs.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone, and just mention that you'd like to get a copy of these audio CDs.  We're happy to send them to you, and we do appreciate your financial support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.

 Well, tomorrow we're going to make some more phone calls.  In fact, let's see if we can talk to Dennis Jernigan, you know, the songwriter who has been on FamilyLife Today before, and we'll call Jill Savage and, I don't know, we'll see who else we can get ahold of tomorrow and get some book recommendations from those folks.  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 tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


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