FamilyLife Today® Podcast

Waking Up From a Lukewarm Life

with Patrick Morley | June 3, 2013
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Life offers many starts and stops. Patrick Morley was a rebellious teenager, angry at his father and determined to make it on his own in a cramped corner of a boarding house in downtown Orlando. But his father, out of love, invited him to come back home. That was a turning point for Patrick, who eventually joined the army and later became a successful businessman. But his success became empty, and when it did, his heavenly Father had the answer.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Life offers many starts and stops. Patrick Morley was a rebellious teenager, angry at his father and determined to make it on his own in a cramped corner of a boarding house in downtown Orlando. But his father, out of love, invited him to come back home. That was a turning point for Patrick, who eventually joined the army and later became a successful businessman. But his success became empty, and when it did, his heavenly Father had the answer.

  • 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.

Patrick Morley was a rebellious teenager, angry at his father and determined to make it on his own.

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Waking Up From a Lukewarm Life

With Patrick Morley
June 03, 2013
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Bob:  Patrick Morely remembers a time when he was very successful in business and very unhappy in his life. His unhappiness spilled out—in his relationship with his wife.

Patrick:  We had an occasion when I was just trying to get this angst out—saying things to a woman that a man should never say. She was just sitting there, taking it like a man; but she eventually had these big tears kind of rolling down her face. After she held my gaze, for what seemed like a brief eternity, she said, “Pat, is there anything about me that you like?” I felt like I’d just been tasered.

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, June 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Patrick Morely joins us today to talk about how God got his attention and started him on the path from boyhood to manhood. Stay tuned. 

And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I wonder how many guys listening, or how many women who are listening, could say, like Mary Ann and me, that at home, on a bookshelf somewhere, there is a copy of the book—

Dennis:  Oh, there are millions of them.

Bob:  —Man in the Mirror.

Dennis:  Right. You can find it at garage sales, all over the country. [Laughter]

Bob:  What a—what a—Man! He just—he knew we were trying to set you up, Pat; and he just turns around and sticks the knife right in!

Dennis:  Well, here’s the thing. When you’ve got—

Patrick:  Oh, that’s okay. I’ll pay you five dollars if you take the one I have with me.

Dennis:  Oh, yes, there you go! When you have as many million books as he has out there, you’re going to find some.

Bob:  At garage sales.

Dennis:  You’re going to find some. Patrick Morely joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Pat—welcome back.

Patrick:  Thank you, Dennis. Thank you, Bob.

Dennis:  Pat is the President of Man in the Mirror Ministries. A lot of our listeners know that. He has more degrees than Arizona does in the summer. [Laughter] He and his wife Patsy have been married since 1973. They have two married children, four grandchildren. He’s just finished a book called Man Alive.

To really tell the story of this book, I want to take you back to the tenth grade—the summer after your tenth grade. Something significant took place in your life. A lot of people look at Pat Morely—and they read your books. You’re transparent in there—so, you’re not trying to give any bologna—but everybody’s life has a context. We’re on a journey. In the tenth grade—that summer—you were on a serious journey, too. It took you away from home.

Patrick:  Yes. The backdrop, here, is that my father grew up without a dad, so—we can talk more about that later—but he really did not have the equipment to be a father to me. As a typical rebellious teenager, I got a little out of control. We had this terrible fight. I decided to run away from home, and so I did. I moved into downtown Orlando—I rented a room, upstairs, in this old boarding house.

Dennis:  You’re 14, 15 years old?

Patrick:  I was 16. So, there’s like a refrigerator and the bathroom—and they’re in the hall. It’s just a room. I got a job—scraping cement off of scaffolding, in the middle of the heat of the summer, and then dipping the scaffolding in this chrome tub of paint to prepare them for rental again. I was hitchhiking everywhere. Every night, I would have a grilled cheese sandwich, at the bowling alley, across the street.

I was kind of having a ball for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know what I was doing. But at the end of two weeks, I was starting to get a little bored—getting a little lonely. A friend came over and brought two six-packs of beer, which we promptly consumed. Then, he threw up on my floor and left. There I was—in this pig sty—in this hovel.

The next morning, I woke up. There were beer cans everywhere. I just longed to go home. I really wanted to go home, but I didn’t know any better. I thought that, once you left home, that was it. I actually thought that I had severed all ties—so I was on my own now, and I had to figure it out. I didn’t know what to do next. Later that morning, there was a knock on the door. I opened the door, and it was my dad. I still don’t know how he found me, but I hesitantly invited him in. He stepped into the room and looked around. He didn’t seem to judge me. Then, he said: “Your mother and I just wanted you to know that we love you very much. We were wondering if you’d be willing to come back home—” Well, he had not finished the sentence—and I had all my earthly possessions in a brown paper bag, and I was out of there.

That experience—in getting to that place, for me, has really been about—I’ve always struggled with believing—really believing that God cares about me, personally—you know, Pat Morely. It’s because, I guess, I had such a problem with my own dad. Now, of course, that I’m a parent—I realize that when you’re a father—sometimes, you do have to say, “No,” and make your kids do some things they don’t want to do; but at that point, I just didn’t have a sense of enough—on the other side of the ledger—of him really caring about me. So, yes, I ran away; but boy, was I sure glad to get home!

Bob:  Was that a turning point for you—that event—or did you continue to kind of live as a prodigal for a while?

Patrick:  Well, I did end up quitting high school in the middle of my senior year. So, I guess, that that downward slide was still underway. My dad wasn’t going to let me hang around the house. So, he drove me down to the Army enlistment office. That was a good thing for me. I loved the Army! The Army gave me structure and discipline. Those were things that, frankly, I did not have at home. Basically, my parents gave me too much say—if that makes sense to you.

Bob:  Sure.

Patrick:  So I was kind of running wild—running my own show.

Dennis:  You have found that a lot of men were as you described—really don’t understand the love of God and that God deals with us—not according to our performance and what we deserve—but according to His character, and His grace, mercy, and lovingkindness. You’re finding a lot of men today who are—you call them “half alive” in your book. They’re not all alive—they’re living a stagnant life. You say 90 percent of men are—in fact.

Patrick:  Yes, that’s my estimate—that 90 percent of men are leading lukewarm, often, defeated lives—and of course, they hate it. No man wakes up in the morning and thinks to himself, “Well, I wonder what I can do today to irritate my wife.” Well, actually, probably a few do that; but as a general rule, they’re not thinking about how they can irritate their wives, let their kids down, have a moral failure.

But nevertheless, men are doing that. A lot of it has to do, Bob and Dennis, with just this idea that we do live in a performance-based culture. How I perform—“I don’t get the reward unless I perform it.” So, it’s quite natural for a man to bring that thought process with him as he explores Christianity—and think that Christianity is about making God happy, or at least avoiding His wrath.

Dennis:  For you—

Patrick:  Yes.

Dennis:  —you continued your own journey, as a young man—ultimately, found your way into the business world; and even though—well, you were quite successful. Where did God show up in the story? You were a real estate guy, making a lot of money. When did He show up and how?

Patrick:  Well, it was pretty interesting because, in high school, I was a religiously-curious kid. I was involved in a church. I’m not saying the Gospel was not preached there—I just never heard it. I think a lot of guys would say, “Well, that church didn’t preach the Gospel.” Well, maybe they did. Maybe, you weren’t listening.

Dennis:  How did you even find your way into a church, if you grew up in the family? Did they take you there?

Patrick: Yes. We were a religious family. Somewhere, along the line, I had the good fortune of meeting Patsy, my wife, now, of 40 years. Patsy led me to Christ. She’s the one who was responsible for introducing me to Jesus. It came in my first year in business—when, admittedly, in the middle of a good economy—but I was meeting all of my goals. I was making more money than I ever dreamed of. We had a new home, luxury car, beautiful wife, and I was miserable. I had everything I ever wanted, and I was absolutely miserable.

Dennis:  How old were you?

Patrick:  Twenty-four.

Dennis:  You’d achieved all that by the time you were twenty-four.

Patrick:  That’s correct.

Bob:  You said your wife was the one who introduced you to Christ. How did that happen?

Patrick:  Well, before we were married, I was still in college. She had graduated from college—and was in Orlando—hanging out with some of her friends when I met her. She had just come back from Explo ’72.

Dennis:  ’72.

Patrick:  ’72, Explo ’72.

Bob:  You know who was in charge of all of the buses at Explo ’72?

Patrick:  Yes, Mr. Rainey.

Bob:  Yes, he was.

Dennis:  Forty thousand high school kids. We’re still missing about 10,000 of them. [Laughter]

Bob:  So your wife was at this event—that Dennis was running the buses for?

Dennis:  Oh, yes.

Patrick:  Yes, and she was all amped up when she got back; but I kind of thought that I was already beyond that and above that. I don’t know exactly what I said to her, at this point; but I convinced her that I was already a Christian. She kind of let it go. She had been asking me these religious-sounding questions. I was aware that my answers had not been all that satisfying to her.

Being a good salesman, I stopped answering her questions and started asking her questions—trying to find out: “Where is she coming from? What’s she looking for, here?” Then, to be honest, I just lied. I loved her. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. If that’s what it took to make her happy—so I lied and pretended I was a Christian. I think she maybe winked. I think she liked me, too, and really wanted to get married—so not very good theology—but we got married.

Bob:  And we should just say, here, for those of you who are listening and are in that situation, it doesn’t always work out well.

Dennis:  Oh, no!

Bob:  Okay? So, by the grace of God—

Patrick:  Oh yes!—very much.

Bob:  God did a work in your life—but the wink—and hope it all turns out for the better—sometimes it doesn’t; right?

Patrick:  Bad theology—bad theology. I have had so many men—who are unequally yoked—either they’re the believer or not the believer. Anyway, Patsy asked me several times about going to church. Finally, one day, I said: “The more you ask, the less I want to go. So, why don’t you just back off; and when I’m ready, then….” And she did.

But what I didn’t know was that she had been praying and really began to pray in earnest. I believe that her prayers resulted in God’s grace—that led to me feeling the emptiness of success. I’ve discovered that when men make idols or change the truth of God for an idol, that God has three ways of working with us. Number one is that He will withhold the thing that we think we can’t live without, or He will remove the thing that we think we can’t live without, or sometimes, He will give us so much of what we want that we gag on it.

I was just gagging on it. I hated my life. I had everything I had ever wanted, and I was just totally miserable. One day, I said to Patsy, “Let’s go to church.” She—after I revived her, we went. The interesting thing is—Bob and Dennis—that God, in His grace—I don’t know why—but He led us to a church that had a vision to disciple me to be a godly man, husband, and father. It was almost like they had discipleship squads of men. When I walked through the door, there were men—who had their antennae up and recognized that I was a rookie husband, and a young businessman—who, after a few questions, realized where I was on my journey. They aggressively pursued me. Of course, I liked what they had—the peace that they had and the joy.

So, having been able to sort of, through my own determination, get a lot of the things that I wanted in life—I began to try to emulate them. Again, the harder I tried to emulate them, the more distressed I became. Finally, one day, I just—we had been at church. We pulled out of the parking lot. As soon as we were out of the sightline of the church, I was ragging on my wife about something that she had done in the church—that had embarrassed me or something. I really don’t even remember what it was.

She was crying, and that was not the first time that she had ever cried. We had an occasion—when I was just trying to get this angst out—this kind of amorphous pain. Guys, if you’re listening, you know what I’m talking about—this amorphous pain. You feel like it’s eating your gut alive. You think, “If I could just form the words on the tip of my tongue, I could maybe expiate it and get it out.” So, I was taking things out on Patsy, one day—ranting and raving, back and forth—saying things to a woman that a man should never say. She was just sitting there—taking it like a man—but she, eventually, had these big tears kind of rolling down her face. I looked at her, and I was transfixed. I tried to look away. I couldn’t. After she held my gaze, for what seemed like a brief eternity, she said, “Pat, is there anything about me that you like?”

I felt like I’d just been tasered. I wandered off to the office—spent the rest of the morning, staring out the window of my big luxury office. I thought to myself, “Morely, you are really a nobody—headed nowhere.” It was true. It was true. That was and remains the lowest point I’ve ever had in my life—that day.

A couple weeks later, though, was when we had this church experience. As soon as we were out of the sightline, as I said, I laid into her. She started crying and something snapped—bam! Of course, I realize, now, it was the Spirit of God—the Spirit of Jesus—bringing me to the end of myself. I pulled out my white hanky and I said:

God, I can’t do this anymore. Jesus, I need You in my life. I have made a wreck of things. I am a sinful man; and I’m so, so sorry. I would—if You will have me—by faith, I would like to invite You to come into my life, and change me, and forgive my sins, and give me the eternal life; but, also, help me get my life in order because I can’t manage this thing anymore.”

And He did. It was miraculous! It was sudden in some areas, and it was very elongated in others. You know what I’m saying?

Bob:  Yes.

Dennis:  Yes. We do know what you’re saying. To that man, who’s listening to you today—who’s going, “You got me!”—or maybe, a woman—she’s had her ladder propped against the wrong wall, and she’s empty. What should they do?

Patrick:  Well, if you are listening and you’re resonating with this—and you realize that this restlessness that you feel—that you just are not going to be able to get rid of it any other way—and you know that you have a need for a Savior—then, maybe, Dennis, maybe, Bob—maybe, we just take a moment and invite people to receive Him, right now, if they would like to do that. What do you think?

Dennis:  I think that would be appropriate. Lead them in a prayer.

Patrick:  Yes. So the idea here, men and women, is that no matter what you’ve done, you can be forgiven. You don’t have to do anything to make God happy or avoid His wrath. In fact, really the only requirement to become a Christian is to admit that you’re not qualified to be one—that you’re a sinner. It’s not something you do to earn merit, but it is grace. It’s something that God does for you.

Who knows? Maybe, that’s why I came all the way to Little Rock today—is to tell somebody, listening, that God loves you very much. He wants you to come home. So, if that’s where you are, you can do that right now. You can do it any time you want to; but you can do it, right now, by simply telling Him that’s what you want to do. So, if you would like to, prayer is a great way to do that.

Let me lead you in a prayer. If you would like to receive Jesus, and let Him be your Savior and Lord, if you want to stop seeking the god or the gods you’ve wanted and start seeking the God Who is, then let me encourage you—pray this prayer, silently to yourself, or out loud, after me:

Lord Jesus, I need You. I confess that I have been leading a sinful life; and I’m so, so sorry. I need You in my life, right now, more than I ever have. I confess my sins. Jesus, by faith, I invite You to come into my life, and to change me, and to make me the kind of person that You want me to be.  I thank You for forgiving my sins, by faith. I thank You for giving me eternal life, by faith. I now pray that You would show me the next steps to become all of the person that You created me to be when You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Amen.

So Dennis, maybe, you could say a word to anybody who might have just prayed.

Dennis:  Well, the reality is—God is closer to you than your closest friend. He hears those prayers, and He answers them. He says: “I stand at the door and knock. If you hear Me knocking, and you hear My voice, and open the door, I will…” He promises—He says, “I will come into him.” I tell you what—when God shows up—He begins to change things from the inside out. It is the adventure of a lifetime. It’s the only way to live life. If you’ve been half-alive, this is the way to be fully-alive.

Bob:  That’s right. If you just prayed that prayer with Patrick Morely and you go to our website,, we would love to send you, as a free gift, a book called Pursuing God—that talks about what it means to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It starts you on your journey.

Again, the book is called Pursuing God. You can request a copy when you go to Or you can call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY for more information; 1-800-358-6329. You might also want to get a copy of Patrick Morely’s book, Man Alive. We have that book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. Again, you’ll find it, online, at; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY.

And many of you are familiar with the book that Dennis Rainey has written, called Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood. We have something special we want to offer you here—right before Father’s Day. We’re going to make copies of Dennis’s book available to you, along with a DVD—that is a sampler DVD—that introduces you to the Stepping Up™ video resource that we put together—both the one-day event and the ten-part series.

The sampler DVD has all of Session One from the ten-part series and about half of the first session from the event version of the Stepping Up video material. We’ll send you the book and the sampler DVD, absolutely free, if you’ll simply cover the cost of postage and handling. Go to to request your copy of Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, along with the sampler DVD. Again, we’ll send it out at no cost—if you’ll cover the postage and the handling. You can order, online, at; or you can call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”. We’ll get a copy of the book and the DVD out to you.

Now, before we wrap up, we want to say a quick word of thanks to those of you who support the ministry of FamilyLife Today—those of you who are Legacy Partners. Thank you for your ongoing support. Those of you—who get in touch with us, every once in a while, to make a contribution—we appreciate your support, as well. In fact, this month, if you’re able to make a donation, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a CD—a message from Dennis Rainey about the important role a father plays in turning his heart toward his children—how a dad can connect, heart to heart, with his sons and with his daughters.

That CD is our thank-you gift, this month, when you make a donation to support FamilyLife Today. You can do that by going, online, at Click the button that says, “I CARE”; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make your donation over the phone, and just ask for the CD from Dennis Rainey when you call in to make a donation. We’re happy to send it out to you. We are so grateful for your partnership with us, here in the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We love hearing from you.

And we hope you can join us back again tomorrow. Pat Morely is going to be here again. We’re going to talk about why it is that men resist having a relationship with other guys. What is it that keeps us to ourselves? We’ll talk about that tomorrow. Hope you can tune in.

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 tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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