The Prophet and the Priest
About the Guest
Being a family shepherd isn't just a job; it's a calling. Author and pastor Voddie Baucham challenges men to be the prophet and priests of their home, all the while depending on God for his wisdom and direction for his family. A priest, Baucham explains, is the one who goes to God on behalf of his people - his family, and a prophet proclaims the good news and represents God before the people.
Being a family shepherd isn’t just a job; it’s a calling.
The Prophet and the Priest
Bob: Men have a responsibility, before God, to care for the spiritual condition of their families. They have a responsibility, Voddie Baucham says, to be shepherds.
Voddie: You know, it’s interesting. The shepherd, you know, he didn’t sort of come in at nine and knock off at five. He was a shepherd. He smelled like the sheep. He lived with the sheep—slept and ate and everything else—with the sheep. For many men—I want to dispel this myth—this whole idea of family shepherds. Family shepherd is not a job. It is a calling. You ARE the shepherd of your family.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, June 5th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Voddie Baucham is here today to help us, as men, know how we can better shepherd our families. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I have a friend of mine—he and his wife are both in their middle 60s. Their daughter is, I think, 12 or 13 years old. She is their daughter by adoption. Actually, they are grandparents; but they have taken in this daughter and raised her as their own. I’ve talked to them several times about raising a daughter when you’re in your 60s—and it’s your granddaughter—but she’s become your daughter now.
He said, “You know, one of the great things about it is I’m getting a do-over. I’m getting to do a second time what I wish I could have done better the first time.” He’s got some wisdom. He doesn’t have as much energy as he used to have, but he’s got more wisdom than he used to have.
He told me that they sit down at breakfast. They’ve been using Bruce Ware’s book, Big Truths for Young Hearts, a kind of theology book that they go through together—father and daughter, at the breakfast table. He said, “She loves it, and I’m learning stuff as I got through it.” He says it’s a rich time. Really, I look at him and I think he’s a model for younger men of what it can be and what it ought to be as you raise your kids.
Dennis: And I think it is interesting that God gives children to younger adults who—let’s face it, I was clueless. You were clueless. We all admitted we were clueless when we started this journey. I think it’s all a part of helping us grow up and embrace the Scriptures ourselves—come to grips with what we believe the Bible says about our lives—and, in the process, come out of the whole parenting deal much better people. I’m a better person for having had six children. They taught me much more about God than I could have ever learned by myself.
I know the guest we have today on the broadcast, Voddie Baucham, agrees because he’s written a book, Family Shepherds, which is all about teaching your kids about God and, in the process, learning it yourself.
Voddie, welcome back to the broadcast.
Voddie: It’s good to be back. Thank you.
Dennis: Voddie is a pastor, a speaker, an author, and a father, as well. He’s passionate about developing men to really be the shepherds of their families. You talk about a typical family today that goes to church, in your book. As Bob said before we came on the air, you kind of had a play on words. You called them Ken and Barbie. You didn’t call them Ken and Barbie, but it was a play off of Ken and Barbie.
Dennis: We knew who you were talking about! Introduce our listeners to who Ken and Barbie are—in the church today—a young family, just starting out.
Voddie: Typical young family starting out. It’s a family that everybody looks at and says, “They’ve got it all together.” They’ve got a few kids, and Barbara’s active in the church. She’s a leader in the women’s ministry, and Ken is deacon and all this good stuff. That’s the family. You look at them and you say, “They’ve got it all together.” But, they get home, and they all scatter. The husband and wife don’t spend time together. The kids are all off in their individual places, doing their individual things.
Voddie: They never come together for anything. They don’t share their meals together. There’s nothing. There is no family life—pardon the pun. It’s just nonexistent; but at church, everybody looks at them and thinks, “Wow, perfect little Christian family.”
There are so many families out there who are just like Ken and Barbie. They look good on the outside. They know how to present themselves. We play this game with everybody else around us. “Everything’s okay;” and even if, “Everything’s not okay,” we’re just going to agree that, “Everything is okay.” When it’s not okay, we’re not going to talk about it not being okay; but on the inside—on the inside of their home, on the inside of their life—there is absolutely nothing drawing them together.
Bob: So if people saw the Bauchams, wouldn’t they say, “Boy, he loves the Lord. His wife’s involved, and the kids are obedient and well-dressed.” They’d see the same thing they might see with Ken and Barbie. How’s it look different if we came to the Baucham home? People aren’t scattering?
Voddie: [Laughing] Oh boy. With seven kids!
Dennis: There’s got to be a little scattering going on.
Voddie: Yes, there is; but here’s the distinction that we strive for. The distinction that we strive for is understanding that, as a family, we share life together—not just a ride to church. This whole idea of family shepherds—family shepherd is not a job. It is a calling. For many men, here’s—
I want to dispel this myth. This book and our time together is not about giving men another tool in their toolbox. This is about men completely changing the way they view themselves and the way they view their very purpose. This is not something else that men are to do. This is something that men are to understand that they ARE. You ARE the shepherd of your family.
So, there’s no room for that whole Ken and Barbie—“Everything’s okay out there in the world; and then when we get home, there’s nothing,”—because we’re family shepherds. We’re shepherding them toward the Good Shepherd, Who is Christ. That doesn’t take a back seat to anything.
Dennis: And there’s something going on, spiritually—
Dennis: —in both Ken and Barbie’s life. It’s not that there’s a blank slate on their lives—where the only type of spiritual activity in their life—the only nod they give to God is on Sunday morning between 10:00 and 12:00, or whenever they choose to go. There is a living, breathing connection with the same Savior Who rose again from the dead because He lives in them. He’s affecting the way they live, and the choices they make, and who they hang out with, and where they go.
One of the things you do, at your church, that you wrote about is—you challenge men—I kind of love this because this got real practical. You’re not being legalistic about this, but I just kind of like it. You said you challenged men. “Are you watching too much TV?” “Is your mortgage too big?” In other words, “Are you in too much debt?” and, “Is your family out of control and spread too thin?” I mean, “What’s going on in your life, below the surface?” That’s what you’re really engaging men around.
Voddie: Yes. That idea of lifestyle evaluation. You only do that when you understand what your role is. Again, if a guy, at his core, believes that he is an executive who happens to have a wife and kids, then everything that he does is to make himself a better executive. He manages the wife and kids; okay?—but again, he’s an executive, first and foremost.
Bob: He goes to seminars, he reads books—
Voddie: Absolutely; because that’s who he is, and that’s where he wins, and that’s how he’s measuring himself. But if a man understands that he is a husband and father, who provides for his family by being an executive—that changes his entire perspective. Now, it’s not being an executive that drives my family life. It’s my family life that drives the way I view my role as an executive. This is a complete paradigm shift.
Bob: Talk to me, then, about what—and I hate to say a “program”—but a pattern of evangelism and discipleship in the home. I mean, I never took a class in how to do evangelism and discipleship in the home. Do I do the “Four Spiritual Laws” with my kids at night, before they go to bed? What do you do to introduce your kids to Christ and help them grow in the faith?
Voddie: In that section—that’s the first section in the book. In that section, we start off with, “What is the Gospel?” because most guys don’t know what the Gospel is. They don’t know that the Gospel is a proclamation. That it is news—it is good news about the redemptive work that God has accomplished through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
So the most important thing, if guys are going to do a good job at being that priest and prophet in their home—you know, the one who represents God before the people and represents the people before God—if they’re going to do a good job there, they have to first understand the Gospel.
Bob: So what does the average person today think the Gospel is and how does his thinking need to change?
Voddie: Oh, wow. You ask the average person what the Gospel is and they’ll give you the plan of salvation. You ask them what the Gospel is and they’ll tell you that the Gospel is, you know, everything that Jesus taught. You ask them what the Gospel is and they’ll tell you—I mean, you’ll get a variety of different answers.
But what you rarely get is the right answer. That word means “news”—announcement of news. The Gospel is not something I live. I can’t live the Gospel any more than I can live last night’s news. The Gospel is something that must be proclaimed. You know the common, well-known Francis of Assisi quote—you know, “Preach the Gospel at all times; and when necessary, use words.” You know, that sounds good but it’s the absolute opposite of what is true. You have to use words to preach the Gospel.
I mean, think about it this way. Think about a news station here in Little Rock, where you guys are. They say, “Channel 11 news. Our news is so powerful; we don’t use words.” [All laughing]
Voddie: Can you imagine that?!
Dennis: Just pictures.
Voddie: Yes, just pictures. They’re sitting down there and they’re just, you know, walking around. You’re trying to figure out what the news is by the way they’re living their life. The only way news is heard is that it has to be proclaimed.
Bob: So should a dad, at dinner, be saying, “Now kids. I told you this last night; but remember, ‘Jesus died. He was resurrected.’ That’s the good news. And so, we’ve got our Gospel for tonight.”
Voddie: Yes. Here’s the thing, and this is where we get to that whole idea of the indicatives and imperatives. We are always reminding our children and ourselves of the Gospel because everything that we do is rooted and grounded therein. So, when I’m called to obedience, and this is what Paul tells us in Philippians, you know, “It is Him who works in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure”—right after he tells us “to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
On the one hand, you have an imperative. Here’s what you do. On the other hand, you have the indicative. Here’s what God has done and is doing in you in order that you might have the power and the passion to accomplish what He’s called you to accomplish. So, we’re always reminding ourselves of the indicatives, or the Gospel, and what’s been accomplished because of Christ’s finished work. That motivates us and empowers us to accomplish the imperatives.
Bob: But I’ve got a three-year-old. How do I preach the Gospel to a three-year-old?
Voddie: Oh, it’s great. Your three-year-old does something. Your three-year-old lies. Now, my three-year-old has lied. “You understand that you lied?” “Yes, I understand that I lied.” Hopefully, my three-year-old knows something about the Ten Commandments. He knows that God says, “You’re not to lie.” He knows about the warnings that we have in the Scriptures about lying.
Then, I’ve got two choices. I can tell him, “Okay, now, so don’t lie any more. Go tell the truth.” That’s works righteousness. Instead, say, “Do you know why you lied?” Now we get to his heart. Now we get to his sin. When I let him know that’s he’s lying because of his heart and because of his sin, I remind him, once again, that that’s just another indication that what he needs is for Jesus to save him from his sin. See, now I’m not moving towards works righteousness. I’m moving toward the Gospel. With a three-year-old, that’s all day, every day, that you have an opportunity to do that.
Bob: When you say, “Save him from his sin,” you’re not just talking about saving him from hell. You’re talking about, “Forgive him for what he’s done,” but also, “Transform him into the kind of young person who doesn’t tell lies anymore, who doesn’t want to tell lies anymore.”
Voddie: Absolutely. Indicatives and imperatives.
Dennis: And the kind of young person who learns not to live his life around himself but wants to honor God with his life.
We’re talking here about the identity of a father in the home. You use two terms that I really liked—kind of as just simple concepts. I want a man, who is listening to us right now—whether you’re single, married with no kids, married with kids, regardless of their age—to just think about these two concepts around what Voddie’s just been talking about—about the proclamation of news; okay?
Dennis: The first identity is “priest”. What does a priest do?
Voddie: A picture of the priest is the one who represents his people before God. In other words, the priest is the one who goes to God on behalf of His people. He is the intercessor. That is the priest’s role—is the intercessor.
Dennis: He uses words to intercede before God.
Bob: So you’re talking about a dad praying for his family? Is that what a priest does?
Bob: What does that look like for you, as a dad? I mean, do you have a devotional time where you’re praying for your kids, by name, every day? Is that a part of your rhythm?
Voddie: It’s not only that; but even in our times when we’re gathered together as a family, we’re praying for one another. When they’re going down to bed at night, there’s time when we’re praying for them. I have a section in the book where I talk about Cotton Mather and the instructions that he has for parents, concerning their children. He says in this passionate section—and the book is like a little booklet—twenty- something pages, or whatever. I can’t read it without crying.
Dennis: Now, who is he?
Voddie: Well, Cotton Mather was an early American—sort of Puritan pastor. Mather talks about taking your children aside, every now and then—you know, praying for your children’s salvation in your prayer closet; but every now and then—bringing them with you, and praying to the Lord on their behalf that they might be saved and allowing them to hear the groanings of your very soul as you cry out to God on behalf of that child and their need for salvation.
Bob: Is that something you’ve done?
Bob: And what do your kids—what do they think when Daddy says, “Come, I’m going to pray for you,” and you cry out to God for their salvation? What do they—how do they respond?
Voddie: Here’s the thing. If it is part of your life, and it’s what you hear on a regular ongoing basis as a child—that is not out of the ordinary. It makes all the sense in the world because Daddy tells me a dozen times a day that—
Bob: I’m a sinner?
Voddie: —I’m a sinner; and it’s these things I’m doing, coming out of that sin, and I need to be saved.
Dennis: I need redemption, and Dad’s going to the Almighty God who can deliver that.
Voddie: Amen! Amen! Amen!
Dennis: Okay. There’s a second identity I want you to cover just really quickly. That is, again, think of this identity around what Voddie’s talking about—about a father being one who proclaims news. That is the role of being a prophet.
Voddie: Yes. The prophet is the one who presents God before the people. He’s proclaiming what “thus sayeth the Lord” to the people. That’s the teaching function—the teaching role that we have. That is the ongoing reminder of the Gospel. That is our gathering together around the Word of God, and reading, and teaching the Scriptures to our family. That is our taking opportunities to teach our children and give them, not just times when they need to be reproved or rebuked; but also, there are other opportunities.
When there is a news story that comes up and you see somebody in the news—who just sort of is a modern-day proverb—this is what the ultimate end of that kind of lifestyle is. You take your kids aside and you say, “Listen. Do you remember when I told you that if you lived like this, that ultimately this is the end of it? Here is an example, in living-color, in real-life, today.” That’s part of the prophetic responsibility of a father.
Bob: If you’re a dad—and you’re taking a son to a sporting event, you’re there to have fun with your boy; but you’re also looking for those moments when you can shepherd him—when you can point out some things. “See that player there in the end zone, and he’s doing that dance, and he’s just trying to draw attention to himself? What should we think?” You’re really helping them think critically about what they’re observing.
Voddie: Absolutely; absolutely.
Dennis: Well, I’m thinking about our conversation here; and I’m reflecting back on another conversation I had earlier this week with a person who was struggling with an identity issue. I gave this person a passage of Scripture to memorize. I’m wondering, Voddie, if we’re talking to a man right now who really is having an identity crisis. He’s a man, a husband, a father; and he feels these responsibilities. He’s been sensing them; and it’s like, “You know, Voddie. You’re right. I think more about what I do in my career than I think about who I am as a man, husband, and father—really shepherding my family.” Is there a passage of Scripture you would give me, not like a pill that’s going to solve everything, but a passage that will help him think rightly about himself as a man?
Voddie: I would take him to Ephesians 5. I’d take him to Ephesians 5:22—all the way through, at least, Ephesians 6:4—because there we have the household codes in their most developed form. You start with 5:22 with, “Wives submitting to their husband as unto the Lord.” That talks about the man’s headship. It says who the man is, but it also puts that in context. It says it’s not about him. It’s about Christ. It’s about the Gospel.
Then, you go on to verse 25. It talks about the husband loving the wife—how “as Christ loved the church, gave Himself up for her.” Now, you see a picture of the man’s role and the execution of his responsibility. It’s not about him; it’s about Christ. It’s about the Gospel.
Then, you get to 6:1-4—all of this trailing, right on after one another. You have “Children,” you know, “obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and your mother.” Now, you have the picture of the outgrowth of this marital relationship bringing forth—issuing forth—children. We understand that in the context of the Gospel, as well. So, I would say from Ephesians 5:22 through 6:4 is a section of Scripture that I would tell a man to grab hold of if he wants to see a picture of the spiritual nature of his relationship as a family shepherd.
Dennis: And then, verse 4, which you didn’t quote—which is kind of the exclamation point—“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the disciple and instruction of the Lord,” which is just what you’re talking about—not only here, but in your book. I think you’re really right. I think most men have the wrong identity, the wrong picture, of who they are and what they’re about. As a result, they’re not making decisions based upon what is primary. They’re basing a lot of their decisions on what is secondary—what they do in their careers.
Bob: And I’ve heard you say this before, Voddie—but that passage in Ephesians, where it offers the promise that it will go well with you—we look around and go, “So, how’s it going with us in the land today?” We’d have to say, “It’s not going so well here in the land today.” Then, we have to ask the question, “Is it because children have not been obeying parents and fathers have been exasperating children?” We’ve not been doing everything that the Bible tells us to do in the family. Maybe we can trace back some of our social pathologies to that core.
That’s why I think what you’re exhorting men to do in this book is so important. Of course, we’ve got the book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Go online and find out more about Voddie Baucham’s book, Family Shepherds. Again, the book is called Family Shepherds,and our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. You can also get in touch with us by phone at 1-800-358-6329, that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”. Ask about Voddie Baucham’s book, Family Shepherds, when you contact us.
Voddie is a part of a new video series that FamilyLife is putting together for men. It’s called Stepping Up. It’s based on material from Dennis Rainey’s book, by the same name. The series is going to be available in August, and we’re launching it with a national men’s simulcast. The Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast will be Saturday, August 4th.
Churches, all around the country, are going to be hosting this simulcast as an event for men in their community. If you would like to have your church be a host church for the event, go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information on how you can do that. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. Click on the link for the Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast.
There’s also information available there about the Stepping Up video series that features Voddie Baucham, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Stu Weber, Dr. Robert Lewis, Joshua Harris, Crawford Loritts, and others. More information about the Stepping Up video series and the Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast can be found online at FamilyLifeToday.com. Or you can call us if you have any questions; 1-800-FL-TODAY is the number—1-800-FL-TODAY.
Of course, speaking of Dennis’ book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, we’re making the book available, this month, to those of you who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation. When you go online at FamilyLife Today.com or you call 1-800-FL-TODAYand make a donation to help support the ministry, we’d love to say, “Thank you,” by sending out a copy of Dennis’ book, Stepping Up. It’s a hardback book. It would make a great gift for Father’s Day or a good book for you to read if you’re a husband, or a father, or just a man who wants to know how to step up and be the man God’s called you to be.
Again, the book is our way of saying, “Thank you for your financial support of this ministry.” We are listener-supported. The cost of producing and syndicating this program is underwritten by folks, like you, who help keep us on the air with your financial support. “Thanks,” in advance, for whatever you’re able to do. If you’re making your donation online, go to FamilyLfieToday.com. Click the link that says, “I CARE”, and fill out the online donation form. We’ll send you a copy of Dennis’ book; or if you call 1-800-FL-TODAY, you can make your donation over the phone. Just ask for the book, Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, when you get in touch with us. We’re happy to send it out to you.
And we hope you can join us back tomorrow. Voddie Baucham’s going to be here again. We’re going to talk about dads and discipline. What’s it look like? What’s the right way to do it? What’s the wrong way to do it? We’re going to unpack that tomorrow. Hope you can be with us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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