FamilyLife Today®

Summer Reading List, Part 3

with Various Guests | July 27, 2007
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Reading is to the mind what food is to the stomach. Today on the broadcast, Christian composer Dennis Jernigan, author Jill Savage, and Christian singer Michael O'Brien talk about some of the books that have been most nourishing to them.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Guest

  • Reading is to the mind what food is to the stomach. Today on the broadcast, Christian composer Dennis Jernigan, author Jill Savage, and Christian singer Michael O'Brien talk about some of the books that have been most nourishing to them.

Reading is to the mind what food is to the stomach.

Summer Reading List, Part 3

With Various Guests
July 27, 2007
| Download Transcript PDF

[Summertime songs]

 Yeah, those are the good old summer songs.  Welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition of our program.  You know, we can take all those great summertime songs and pack them all away because it's time for the fun-killing Dennis Rainey August TV fast.  We either need to get rid of those songs or rewrite them some way, I guess.

Dennis Rainey: You know, you did write a Legacy Partner song.

Bob: Yeah, do you think I need a TV Fast theme song here?

Dennis Rainey: I wonder if you could take Nat King Cole's legendary song and rewrite it.  Why don't you try that for next year's fast?

Bob: I'll see what I could – maybe during August I'll have plenty of time to work on some lyrics for that.

Dennis Rainey: You could do it this year.

Bob: There's nothing else going on.

Dennis Rainey: What Bob's talking about is we're encouraging you, as listener, to join us – Bob is a part of this …

Bob: Yes, I am.

Dennis Rainey: Totally voluntary.  He's not being coerced at all to turn off the television for the month of August and focus your energy, your enthusiasm, your attention, your – well, your time around your spouse, your children, your family, and read a good book, take some walks together, do something different instead of sit on the couch in these hot days of summer and spend some time together.

Bob: What about The Weather Channel?  If I just need to check the forecast, can I just pop on The Weather Channel and see what the weather is.

Dennis Rainey: You know, if there is severe weather in the area …

Bob: … yes …

Dennis Rainey: … try your weather radio.


Bob: You've got an answer for everything, doesn't he?

Dennis Rainey: I'm not a legalist, but, you know, just go on the radio.  The NOAA weather radio will be able to take care of your every need, Bob.


Bob: Well, we thought that since this exciting month is coming up for all of us very soon, we ought to see if we could get some recommendations for how to enjoy the month with some good books, and we've been calling some friends this week and just getting recommendations on …

Dennis Rainey: Former friends of Bob, I might add.

Bob: … books to read …

Dennis Rainey: Because they're not joining his side.  They're actually quite enthusiastic about this.

Bob: We have reached one of our friends on his cell phone, Dennis Jernigan, who is a songwriter and a singer.  Many of our listeners know him, he wrote the song, "You Are My All in All," that's been sung in a lot of worship services all across the country, and Dennis has also been a guest on FamilyLife Today, shared about how God brought him out of his background and involvement with homosexuality, and he's married today and has a number of children, I think nine children, and I think we've got him …

Dennis Rainey: They don't have time to watch TV.

Bob: I think we've got him on the line with us.

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

Dennis Jernigan: Yes.

Dennis Rainey: This is Dennis.

Dennis Jernigan: Hey, what are you doing?

Dennis Rainey: Sitting across the table from Bob Lepine.  You've been here.

Dennis Jernigan: Oh, yeah.

Dennis Rainey: You know what it looks like.

Dennis Jernigan: I remember.

Dennis Rainey: How's your wife and, what is it, nine children?

Dennis Jernigan: Nine children, and we're adding yearly, it seems.  My oldest son was married last July, and then I've got a daughter married May 12th.

Bob: Oh, so you're adding as in …

Dennis Jernigan: Yeah.

Bob: Okay, I just thought maybe there was a birth announcement happening here.

Dennis Jernigan: No, no.  That would be highly miraculous.

Dennis Rainey: You know, I have to ask you before we get to the business at hand here of talking to you about what you've been reading.  These are interesting days for your ministry, undoubtedly.  You've been used by God all across the country, because I run into the dust that you've stirred up, and your footprint's in a lot of places.

Dennis Jernigan: Uh-oh.

Dennis Rainey: Your ministry continues to take off, especially as you bring some comfort and encouragement to those who are trying to get out of the gay lifestyle.

Dennis Jernigan: Yes, that seems to be more and more the case and, you know, just some of the things I'm just running up against even in the church just recently.  I've sent a newsletter to my mailing list just really challenging the church to know what would Jesus do?  He'd build relationship and so, in fact, one of the books I'm going to recommend is a book called "God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door."  That's one that I'm actually about to finish up, but it's written by Alan Chambers and the staff at Exodus International, and it's just a very compassionate look at how to minister to even the most militant homosexuals.  It's an amazing book.

Dennis Rainey: You know, it's interesting, Dennis, we said this when you were on the air – if there's ever been a time when the body of Christ, that is, the arms and legs and heart of Christ to the world, the broken world, if there ever was a time when our compassion needed to be coming through, especially to the homosexual community, it's today.  We need to be welcoming them out of their lifestyle into the love of Christ and the community of believers who are also a bunch of broken people, you know?

Dennis Jernigan: Yes, right.

Dennis Rainey: And I just appreciate your ministry in doing that all across the country.

Bob: What else is on your reading list this summer?  What else are you reading?

Dennis Jernigan: Well, I just got through reading through the entire "Chronicles of Narnia" with my two youngest boys.

Bob: You know, I'm right there with you, and I think I read it three or four times to my children when they were growing up, and I can't – I still don't know who benefited the most or who liked it more – whether it was me or the kids.

Dennis Jernigan: I know.

Dennis Rainey: Yeah, really, I understand.  You're an artist, you've written 2,400, 2,500 songs?

Dennis Jernigan: No, that was when he was here.  It's probably …

Dennis Rainey: Three thousand now.

Bob: I'm thinking.

Dennis Jernigan: That's not in me.

Dennis Rainey: And haven't you written a book?

Dennis Jernigan: Yes, sir.  I've got a book that's out right now called "Giant Killers," which, again, it's just how to take up the stones that God's put in every believer's life and put down the giants in our lives and I'm working on a book, actually, as we speak.  I'm almost finished – for Exodus International, and it's basically a step-by-step, if you will, guide towards intimacy for those who struggle with same-sex attraction, and so that's really on my heart these days, and I've got a new album that I'm so proud of.  It's called "I Cry Holy," and so I'm in creative mode these days.

Dennis Rainey: That's good.  Don't forget Bob and me when you get that album finished.

Dennis Jernigan: Oh, okay.  Well, I – you know what?  I've got a few copies right now that I could send your way.

Bob: That would be great.

Dennis Rainey: That would be great.

Dennis Jernigan: I'll do that.

Dennis Rainey: You need to know, I've had to quit jogging, Dennis, but I have run, literally, around the world with you.

Dennis Jernigan: Ohhh [laughs]

Dennis Rainey: Singing those praise songs with you – I ran in the Cotswold Hills of England listening to your songs and praying and giving thanks to God.  So I love your music, and just thrilled to get a good report.

 I want to encourage our listeners to pray for Dennis and his ministry.  I think, Bob, he's go a strategic ministry today, and so as they pick up one of these books that he's recommended, pray for Dennis Jernigan and his ministry to the gay community, and that God will keep him from evil and harm and temptation but also use him for His purposes.

Bob: Yes, we pray that God will keep you right in the center of His love and protect you from evil.

Dennis Rainey: What are you doing?  Are you building a house?  There's all kinds of noise coming through.

Bob: He's at a gas station.  You've got to be at the gas station, right?

Dennis Jernigan: Getting my oil changed.


 I'm sorry.

Bob: That's fine, don't worry about it.  Hey, it's great to talk to you.

Dennis Jernigan: It's so good to talk to you guys, too.

Dennis Rainey: We appreciate you.

Dennis Jernigan: I appreciate you, too.  Thanks Dennis, thanks, Bob.

Bob: Bye-bye.  I couldn't tell what that guy was shouting in the background.  It sounded like "Do you want 10-30 in this?"

Dennis Rainey: I think that may be a first, Bob.  We've never …

Bob: Had a guest on while he was getting his oil changed?

Dennis Rainey: No doubt about it.

Bob: I think we have another caller on the line with us.  Jill Savage is the president of Hearts at Home ministries, and she's an author herself.  She's a mom, and we thought it would be a good idea to have her on since she is in the same stage of life that a lot of our listeners are in.  Jill, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Jill: Hey, Bob, how are you?

Bob: Long time.

Dennis Rainey: Hey, Jill, it's Dennis, how are you doing?

Jill: Hey, Dennis.  Good to hear your voice.

Dennis Rainey: Welcome back.

Jill: Thank you.

Bob: I have on my desk right here the brand new book that just came out from you, right?

Jill: Yes, yes.  It just came out about a month and a half ago.

Bob: And is it, "My Heart's At Home," is that what it's called?

Jill: Yes.

Bob: And, of course, our listeners who don't know, you direct Hearts at Home ministry, so tell our listeners what you've been writing about.

Jill: Well, I have been writing about all the different roles that home plays in our life.  And I have really been looking at the importance of what happens at home and that Mom and Dad need to be very intentional about what happens at home.  And one of the things that I looked at was 12 different roles that home plays in our life – everything from home as a safe house to home as a playground where we play together, we have fun together; home as a church where a foundation of faith is laid.

 I just looked at all the different roles that home plays so that we can be intentional about having a blueprint for our family, and that goes for television, that goes for any video games, that goes for computers, it goes for everything.

Bob: Now you're hurting me, now you're hurting me here.

Dennis Rainey: You're really robbing Bob of all of his toys now.

Bob: The last couple of years we've been encouraging listeners to take the month of August and fast from television during the month of August, and it's one of these issues that every time Dennis says, "Yes, let's do that again this year," I just – I try to change the subject and somehow that never seems to happen.

Jill: That seems like a long fast, doesn't it?

Bob: It does.  It just seems – but you know what?  Every year we get through it, and it's okay.  It's actually – it's good.

Dennis Rainey: It is good.  In fact, this year, Jill, I'm going to brag on Bob.  He came up with the idea of calling folks like you and finding out what key Christian leaders' top reads are – what book they've read recently would really help the listening audience and strengthen their marriage, their family, perhaps them, as a woman or as a man.  So what's your number-one book you want to recommend to our audience?

Jill: Well, you know, the one that immediately came to my mind is a book I read about a year ago – it was called "Ninety Minutes in Heaven," by Don Piper.  And, honestly, I don't think I will ever look at heaven or death in the same way.  It had a powerful effect on me, and it was the story of a man who was declared dead at an accident site and 90 minutes later they realized he was alive, and he tells his story of what that was like and, I'll tell you what, it was just a powerful read for me.

Bob: And has been for a lot of folks.  It's been read by a lot of people, it sold a lot of copies, and he has been speaking on the subject in a lot of places around the country.

Jill: Yes, he absolutely has.  So that one is probably the first one when I think about – it's one of those books that you read, and you think about it often, or you come back to it, or recently we had a death of somebody very close in our family, and I went right back to that.  And, you know, just really had a different perspective and a powerful perspective on that.

Dennis Rainey: You know, one thing when you're talking about heaven, if Barbara was here, she'd be nodding her head around reading books around a biblical description of heaven.  She read Randy Alcorn's book about heaven and thinks that every follower of Christ needs to read that book and kind of get their head straight about what heaven is really like, because we have some really misinformed ideas.

 And what Randy does, is he goes right to the Scripture and lifts our head and our heart toward believing the right thing about heaven.

Jill: Yes, oh, that sounds wonderful.  Maybe I'll put that on my summer reading list.

Dennis Rainey: There you go.

Bob: What else are you recommending to folks?

Jill: Another one is one that has been out for a while, but I return to it pretty regularly, and it's Richard Foster's "Celebration of Discipline."  I just – every time, I get something new out of that.  It takes me back to just the basic spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting and study and, you know, it just really encourages me in the right direction and my time with the Lord.  I love that book.

Dennis Rainey: Well, I appreciate you sharing those books with us, and I want to remind our listeners, especially our moms, of your new book, "My Heart's at Home, Becoming the Intentional Mom," and I really like some of these.  In fact, one of the things you talked about being intentional about was making your home a rest area, and that's creating that opportunity of rest.  Barbara believed in that.  She created quiet time during her days and especially on Sunday afternoon.

 And, frankly, I don't know how we would have raised six children had we not had those moments to kind of regather our thoughts and our minds.

Jill: Well, I agree.

Bob: And now you want us to give the TV a rest for a month, right?

Dennis Rainey: I do, for a month.  You let me know what it meant to you and your family, Jill, when you join us, okay?

Jill: Sounds good.

Dennis Rainey: All right, thank you.

Bob: Jill, great to talk to you.

Jill: Thank you.  Good to talk to you.

Bob: Bye-bye.

Jill: Bye-bye.

Bob: You talk about quiet time, there's going to be a lot of quiet time coming up in the month of August.  It's going to be real quiet.  You can hear the crickets chirping.

Dennis Rainey: But, Bob, here is the thing about this – when is the last time we really gave up anything to have some days of rest and some time to focus and create some solitude in our lives.  I mean, we don't do that in this fast-paced culture.

Bob: But the truth is, when it comes to solitude, I get a little antsy, I get a little stir-crazy, you know?

Dennis Rainey: Well, maybe that's a part of the process.  Well, I'm not going to go there, but …

Bob: I think I just need to …

Dennis Rainey: Other cultures – well, other cultures have had a whole lot more solitude and, you know, I wonder sometime if the reason we don't have more to say when we do talk is because we haven't had those moments of reflection and contemplation and sitting by the stream or by a fire or out in the woods.

Bob: All right, that's enough of that.  This is getting a little too convicting.  Let's just move on.  We have another phone call to take.

Dennis Rainey: We do.

Bob: Michael O'Brien is a singer.  In fact, many of our listeners probably are familiar with the name Michael O'Brien because Michael toured with the group, New Song, for a number of years and has, since that time, done some recording on his own, and coming up in the next several weeks here on FamilyLife Today, Michael and his wife, Heidi, are going to be on FamilyLife Today, and we're going to hear about a new album that he has recorded that's an album of love songs.

Dennis Rainey: That's right.

Bob: But we thought before we sat down and had an extended conversation with them, we'd just get some book recommendations from him, and he's on the line with us.

Dennis Rainey: Michael?

Michael:  Hey.

Dennis Rainey: How are you doing?  This is Dennis Rainey.

Michael: Hey, Dennis, how are you?

Dennis Rainey: I'm doing good.

Bob: It's Bob Lepine here, too.  You doing all right?

Michael: Bob, I'm doing great, you guys.

Bob: I don't know if you are aware of this campaign that Dennis cooked up that I, personally, think is a lousy idea, but he's real big on it, and it has to do with turning off our TV, having a fast from television during the month of August.

Michael: Well, you know what?  We've turned our TV off for, like, five years.  So I'm all with him.

Bob: No TV?

Michael: We have a TV set, but we don't watch TV.

Dennis Rainey: There you go.

Bob: Oh, man.

Dennis Rainey: See, Bob, this is a fresh movement.  So he should have plenty of great books to be able to recommend to our audience, because he hasn't had the TV on in five years.

Bob: That's right, all right …

Michael: Absolutely.

Bob: … give us some of your top picks in terms of what you'd recommend folks spend their time reading this summer.

Michael: Well, I guess because of the impact it's had on my life, "The Everyman's Battle Book," is such an amazing tool for me to be able to attack the issues in my own life about, you know, sexual purity and with all the things that are attacking us from the TV sets to Internet, that book really gave me a practical way to fight all these things that I've felt like, you know, at that time, were hopeless and helpless.

Dennis Rainey: And there's certainly no shame in admitting there's a battle, because that occurs in almost every man's heart.  But for those men who are getting tripped up by pornography, what they've got to do is use, I think, that book in terms of reading it during the month of August to really decide they're going to deal with this once and for all in their lives and move forward and expose the light and perhaps even talk to their wives about it.

Michael: Yes.

Dennis Rainey: Or some women are being tripped up by this as well – talk to their husbands about it.

Michael: To me, it's another way to say there's hope.  You know, we can say these things out loud to each other.  We're not going to judge each other, we're going to love each other through it, to encourage each other, and that's what the body of Christ is about, that's what you're saying, so I'm a big advocate on that book.

Bob: All right, give us another title.

Michael: All right, well, this is one that I just – I don't know, it's kind of one of those books where you go, "Really?  Would that be a good book?"  But it's by Phil Fisher, it's "Me, Myself, and Bob," it's on the Veggie Tales, and it's his – really his testimony of what happened – basically, in the name of ministry, he was expanding his ministry to the point where, obviously, Veggie Tales got way out, I mean, it was just huge.  Everybody was loving Larry Bob and how he – you know, they basically had this huge success, and then he lost it all.

 And just the story behind that was fascinating.  I'm telling you, I read that book in probably 24 hours.

Bob: Really?

Michael: It's a pretty easy read and very – at first, very entertaining and you're like, "Yeah, man, what's going to happen next," and you know, you never would guess that in the name of ministry something like this would just fall to pieces.

Bob: Now, what was your takeaway from reading that book?  I mean, how did God use that to – what did He impress on your heart from it?

Michael: Well, it's kind of like guarding your heart from thinking that big means God.  You know, well, the more success, the more money, the more I get my name out there, that's what's really going to make a difference.  It really guards your heart on that, and it's really like God, you know, "I'm going to let you guide and direct my path and help me not to run out in front in the name of ministry thinking that I'm doing it for You when I'm really just doing it for me."

Dennis Rainey: There's been a lot of things that have been promoted in the name of God, and it's nothing more than those of us who call ourselves His servants promoting His work around our egos.  I had not heard about that book, but both Bob and I have interviewed Phil and know a little bit of the story, and there is certainly the temptation to do that whether you're in ministry or in business.  You can outrun what God has for you if you don't guard your heart.

Bob: I haven't read the book, but that's a good recommendation.  I'll add that to my list, and that would be a good one to pick up.

Michael: There you go.

Bob: Michael, thanks a bunch, and we'll look forward to having you and Heidi back on FamilyLife Today here in the next couple of weeks and have you share a little bit about the new CD.

Michael: Sounds great, we love you guys and appreciate you.

Dennis Rainey: Appreciate you.  Thanks, Michael.

Michael: Alrighty.

Bob: Yeah, I mentioned that CD.  It's called "Something About Us," and it's a very nice CD.  In fact, I can imagine maybe one evening in August when the TV is off …

Dennis Rainey: You and Mary Ann will play that?

Bob: … and the CD is on …

Dennis Rainey: … kind of snuggle up there …

Bob: … and you just kind of listen and, yeah.

Dennis Rainey: Make sure you've cleaned the kitchen first.

Bob: That's a good thought, yeah.  You know my wife's love language, don't you?

Dennis Rainey: Well, also, why don't you mow the lawn for her, too?

Bob: Let's not lay it on too thick, all right?  Although I will have plenty of time to do these things in August, since there's no television to watch during the month.

Dennis Rainey: Can you believe Bob's wife mows the lawn? 

Bob: She does not mow the lawn.  She mowed it once the day before Amy was born, I do remember that, but I think she was trying to do something to precipitate labor.

Dennis Rainey: You just destroyed your image.

Bob: I didn't ask her to.

Dennis Rainey: All of our female listeners …

Bob: She did it on her own.  She had that burst of energy that comes right before delivery, you know what I'm talking about?  No, you don't know what I'm talking about, because you never had that burst of energy.

 All right, here's what we want to encourage you to do – go to our website,, click the red button that says "Go," in the middle of the screen.  That will take you to an area of the site where you can find information about books and other resources that are available for the TV fast.  In fact, the CD from Michael O'Brien is available in our FamilyLife Resource Center, and if you'd like to hear a sample or two from the CD, you can click, and we can play just a little portion of it for you.

 There are also recommendations for books that are available to read during the month of August – great stories that you can read aloud to the whole family or that your children can read on their own – recommended books for marriage, for parenting, we've got a whole lot we're recommending.  We're hoping you'll spend a lot of time reading and listening during August, since you don't have a whole lot else to do.

 Go to our website,, click the red "Go" button in the middle of the screen.  That will take you to the area of the site where you need to be.  Or call 1-800-FLTODAY.  That's 1-800-358-6329.  Someone on our team can let you know how you can get the resources you need sent out to you.

 Let me encourage you as well – when you get in touch with us, if you can help FamilyLife Today with a donation this month of any amount, we would appreciate it.  We are listener-supported and so we depend on those donations to continue this ministry on this station and on other stations all across the country and, frankly, during the middle of the summer, it's kind of a slow time.  We don't hear from as many listeners as we normally do.  So when you call or go online to make a donation, that means a lot to us here in July.

 In fact, this week when you make a donation of any amount, we want to offer you a thank you gift.  It's a four-CD series that features messages from our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference – a message on communication, a message on sexual intimacy, a couple of messages on resolving conflict.  We'd be happy to send these CDs out to you as a way of saying thank you for your financial support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for helping keep us on the air here and in other cities all across the country.

 When you donate online, as you fill out your donation form, you will come to a keycode box.  Just type in the letters "WTR" so that we know that you'd like to get these CDs or call 1-800-FLTODAY, make your donation over the phone and mention that you'd like the CDs from the Weekend to Remember and, again, we're happy to send them out to you.  Thanks for partnering with us here in the ministry of FamilyLife Today.

 Well, we hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and we hope you can be back with us on Monday when we're going to talk again with somebody we talked to this week, Sara Groves and her husband, Troy, are going to join us.  We're going to talk about the early years of their marriage and some of the challenges that come with the profession that she's in.  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.

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


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Episodes in this Series

Elementary Day 2
Summer Reading List, Part 2
with Various Guests July 26, 2007
Want to immerse yourself in a really good book this summer but don't know which one to pick up?
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Elementary Day 1
Summer Reading List, Part 1
with Various Guests July 25, 2007
Everyone has a favorite book.
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