FamilyLife Today® Podcast

What is an Anchorman?

with Steve Farrar | July 23, 2012
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How can you anchor your family to Christ for years after you're gone? Best-selling author Steve Farrar encourages men to depend on God to help them sacrificially lead and love their families. As Steve reminds us, one man with vision can influence his family for generations to come.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • How can you anchor your family to Christ for years after you're gone? Best-selling author Steve Farrar encourages men to depend on God to help them sacrificially lead and love their families. As Steve reminds us, one man with vision can influence his family for generations to come.

  • 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.

How can you anchor your family to Christ for years after you’re gone?

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What is an Anchorman?

With Steve Farrar
July 23, 2012
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Bob:  When you think about your family, are things stable and secure or do they sometimes feel aimless?  Here’s Steve Farrar.

Steve:  We have, in America, what I call “drifting families”.  Drifting families have no leadership; they have no direction.  Where did I come up with the term “anchor man”?  Every family needs a man, somewhere in their family chain, who is anchored on Jesus Christ.  When a guy gets anchored on Christ, you stop the drifting in a family—even if it’s been there for ten generations.

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, July 23rd.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.  As a husband and as a dad, how can you make sure your family is anchored in Christ?  We’re going to talk about that today.  Stay tuned. 

Bob:  And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition.  That’s a question we’re going to try and wrestle with this week:  What can we do as husbands and dads to try to anchor our children firmly in a relationship with Christ that extends for multiple generations?  I mean, if someone can help us with that, I think all of us are ready to listen.

I think of what the Bible says in Third John, verse 4, when it says, “I have no greater joy than this, to know that my children are walking in the truth.”

Dennis:  You know, Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  I can almost hear the grinder starting up [Laughter] right now because we’ve got a guest on the broadcast today—

Bob:  There it is!  There it is!

Dennis:  Hear it?  There’s the grinder.  There’s going to be a little grinding taking place—

Bob:  A little iron sharpening happening.

Dennis:  You know, before I introduce our guest on the broadcast, Steve Farrar, I want to tell a story.  It happened back at Promise Keepers® in Houston, where I spoke.  They do television interviews afterwards.  A TV camera was stuck in my face from CBS.  They said, “Outside, there are women who are picketing this event, here at the Astrodome.” 

[There were] 40,000 men inside—a dozen women or so—maybe 30—outside, who were really ragging on Promise Keepers about their stand about men and taking advantage of women.  I just looked them in the eye—or looked that glass camera in the eye—and said, “You know, it baffles me how any woman could criticize an organization that is calling men to be responsible men.”  I said, “Up front, just to the left of where I spoke, were seated more than 30 prisoners, dressed in white, who were given the day off so that they could come to Promise Keepers and experience this time of worship and praise.  If you went up and interviewed them, you would find that most of those men are incarcerated—they’re in prison—because most of them never had a daddy.”

Steve:  Yes.

Dennis:  “They didn’t have a man in their lives that could shape their character; love them, hug them, weep with them.  In fact, many of them never saw their father—never met their father—and that’s why they ended up in jail.”  I said, “It baffles me why you would criticize an organization that is calling men back to their primary responsibility to serve, and love their wives, and to spiritually shepherd the next generation of young people.”

Well, that’s the passion that our guest on the broadcast today, Steve Farrar, has.  Steve, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Steve:  Thanks, Dennis.  It’s great to be with you.

Dennis:  Steve and his wife Mary, for a number of years, served on our FamilyLife marriage conference speaker team—Bob, way back there before the earth’s crust hardened.

Bob:  I’ve seen the pictures of that young Steve and Mary and that young Dennis and Barbara.

Dennis:  You know—he really hasn’t changed.  I have, but Steve hasn’t changed.

Steve:  Right, only 40 pounds!  [Laughter]

Dennis:  Many of our listeners know Steve from his best-selling book, Point Man:  How a Man Can Lead His Family, which he authored back in 1990.  Steve, I can’t believe that book has been out that long.

Steve:  Yes.

Dennis:  And yet, it still is a great book for men to know how to lead their family and how to do it practically.

Steve:  You know, Dennis, we’re sitting here in Little Rock.  I remember writing that book, upstairs in my bedroom, about two miles from here.  I think half of that stuff is your material I borrowed.  [Laughter]

Dennis:  Well, Steve is the founder and chairman of Men’s Leadership Ministries, which is based in College Station, Texas.  Tell us just a little bit about that ministry, Steve.

Steve:  Well, it really came out of writing the book, Point Man because back in 1990, Dennis, I started getting calls.  In fact, the first year Point Man was out, I got—I didn’t count them, but—somewhere between 300-400 calls.  “Hey, could you come and talk to our men about being spiritual leaders of their families?”  So, really, that’s what we’re trying to do—is just to try and give them a model and let them know that this is doable stuff.  It’s all in the Scripture.  That’s really the heartbeat of what we’re trying to do. 

Dennis:  There are a lot of our listeners who are men, but more than 50 percent of our listeners are women.  I know it’s on the minds of a lot of our women listeners:  “Is there hope today for men?  Is all this work of the men’s movement truly a work of God and is their really a reformation occurring in men today?  Is there hope for women that men will finally come home, and love them, and lead them?”

Steve:  You know, Dennis, there has to be hope, I think, because this whole thing—it comes from God.  It took a lot of us by surprise.  I think God always has His men.  I think he’s always got a remnant; and I think it’s stronger than it was ten years ago.  Man, I’m encouraged!

Dennis:  You’ve written a book called Anchor Man.  In this book, Steve, you outline some of those changes that are occurring in men.  You outline those changes around the Ten Commandments.  Bob, I enjoyed reading this because I think it reminds us that there is change occurring in the hearts of men, especially when they’re confronted with the truth of Scripture.

Bob:  Yes.

Steve:  You know, Dennis, I think that the Ten Commandments really were the benchmark of the Old Testament.  What occurred to me one day, as I was thinking about the changes in some of the guys I was talking to—here’s what I was seeing.  I began to realize, “I am running into men, all over the country, who will have no other gods before them.”

Dennis:  Yes.

Steve:  I’m running into guys who will not make graven images—whether it’s a car or something on their wrist.  They’re done with idolatry.  They’re going to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind.  I’m running into men who will not take His name in vain.

I’m running into a lot of guys who are motivated at work; but not so motivated that they won’t take one day off, at least, because He’s commanded that we do that.  I’m running into men who honor their fathers and their mothers—are helping to take care of them as they reach retirement age.  I’m running into men who will not have anything to do with murder, whether it’s literal murder or the assassination of somebody’s character behind their back.

Dennis:  Or whether it’s encouraging a girlfriend or a spouse to take the life of an unborn child.

Steve:  There you go.  Do you guys talk about abortion on this program?

Dennis:  Absolutely!

Bob:  We don’t shy away from it.

Steve:  I know you do—that’s one reason why I’m on here.  That’s one of the great, great sins of this nation; but God’s men know that’s wrong.   God has never, never supported the taking of human life.  In the Old Testament, the Canaanites—they were known for sacrificing children.  There’s a whole movement of men who stand against that and put themselves on the line. 

Dennis:  Real men protect human life.

Steve:  Yes, they do.

Dennis:  They are protectors of life.

Steve:  Yes.  Let me say something to you gals because some of you have boys.  Little boys are so different.  Don’t instill in your boys a fear of getting hurt because you can overdo that, as a mom.  God wants boys raised so that they won’t be afraid of getting hurt because they are to be sacrificial.  Now, I’m not saying to let them do things that are crazy or jump off a 40-foot oak tree.

But I’m saying that you have to be careful because that young boy needs to grow up to be a sacrificial husband, and a sacrificial father, and a sacrificial leader.  If he’s not willing to get hurt, he cannot be the man that God wants him to be.

Dennis:  He can’t be the protector.

Steve:  He can’t be the protector.  That’s what protectors do.  Protectors are willing to get hurt for the people that they love.

Dennis:  Preach it. 

Steve:  I love this one—I’m running into guys who will not commit adultery.

Dennis:  Yes!

Steve:  Even though everyone around them is saying it’s okay.  Dennis, have you noticed that peer pressure didn’t quit when we got out of high school?  I mean, it’s everywhere—the guys who say, “No, I’m not going to do that.  I’m not going to touch pornography because I’ve made a commitment.  I’m going to be a one-woman kind of man.”

Dennis:  Yes.

Steve:  I’m running into guys who won’t steal time; they won’t steal things; they won’t steal taxes; they won’t steal possessions.  God’s behind that!  I’m running into men, all over the country, who won’t bear false witness.  They tell the truth.  They don’t spin the truth.

Bob:  Yes.

Steve:  They’re not defining “is”.  They are just telling the truth.  Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Bob:  Yes.

Steve:  I’m also running into men who will not covet but who are learning to be content and thankful—and not be men who complain—but be overwhelmed with the blessing that God has given them in their lives on a daily basis.

Bob:  Those are men who are being transformed by the Gospel.  That’s what the work of the Gospel is; isn’t it?

Dennis:  Yes!  You know, Romans 12:1-2 talks about not being conformed to the world.  It’s almost like, at every point, Steve, you were contrasting the way a worldly man thinks and behaves with the godly man and the right, wise choices that he makes.

Steve:  Right.  It’s Psalm 1.  Psalm 1 talks about the godly man, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.”  Then it gives about four or five descriptions.  The next line says, “The wicked are not so.”  Everything that is true of the godly man—the opposite is true of the man who isn’t.  You know, I think that’s part of what God is doing, Dennis.

Bob:  You know, I remember the first time I saw, on the cover of your book, that statement—that “A man can anchor his family in Christ for the next 100 years.”

Steve:  Yes.

Bob:  I thought, “For real?”  I mean, what are you talking about with this whole concept of being an anchor man?

Steve:  Well, the anchor man came out of Deuteronomy 6, which personally, I think it’s the Great Commission of the Old Testament.  Deuteronomy was written to the men of Israel.  In Deuteronomy 6, he says, “...[These] are the statutes and the judgments, which the Lord your God has commanded me”—now this is Moses talking—“to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it” —they’re getting ready to go into the Promised Land.

And then he says this, “ that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD....”  I think most of us think, “My job is to raise these kids today;” but according to Deuteronomy, I think what we’re seeing there—it’s not just my boys; but it’s their boys.  It’s you, and your son, and your grandson.

Dennis:  Yes.

Steve:  What I got to thinking about was—you know—we all have genealogies.  We don’t tend to think of them like this because all of us—we don’t know our genealogy, except for maybe a few previous generations.  A genealogy is a chain—it’s a very, very long chain.

When I was seven, my dad and I toured the U.S.S. Shangri La, which was the biggest aircraft carrier in the world, at that time.  The flight deck—it was docked at San Diego Bay—the flight deck was 4 ½ acres—6,000 men.  We pulled up alongside that gigantic ship.  A huge chain was coming out the side.  Later, I did research on what it takes to anchor an aircraft carrier. That chain is longer than 4 ½ football fields.  The chain, by itself, weighs over 675,000 pounds.  At the end of that chain is an anchor that weighs 60,000 pounds—and there are two of them!  A genealogy is a family chain. 

We have, in America, what I call “drifting families”.   Why do they anchor that aircraft carrier in San Diego Bay?  They don’t want it drifting.  Drifting aircraft carriers do a lot of damage.  Drifting families do all kinds of damage.

Dennis:  Yes.

Steve:  Drifting families have no leadership; they have no direction.  Where did I come up with the term “anchor man”?  Every family needs a man, somewhere in their family chain, who is anchored on Jesus Christ.  When a guy gets anchored on Christ, you stop the drifting in a family—even if it’s been there for ten generations.

Dennis:  I’ve got to read something from your book, at this point, that you said.  You said, “Every family chain, in order to survive and raise godly children, must somewhere have a man who has a godly vision, not only for his own children, but for the children of the generations to come.  The fact of the matter is,” you say, “one man with vision who is anchored in Christ can influence his family and the generations to come for hundreds of years.”

Steve:  Yes.

Dennis:  Now, Bob, that really is true.

Bob:  Yes.

Dennis:  I think we underestimate the power of a man today; and I think one of the great ploys—one of the great strategies of the devil is to whisper in a man’s ear, “You don’t matter!  It doesn’t matter if you make a wrong choice.  It doesn’t matter if you divorce her.  It doesn’t matter if you commit adultery.  It doesn’t matter if you steal.”  The reality is that every one of those choices is a link in that chain that Steve’s talking about. 

Bob:  And, Steve, that’s why the Bible says to us that the “sins of fathers are visited on the next generation.”

Steve:  Yes, it does.  We’re all very aware of that; but we tend not to be as aware of Deuteronomy 7, verse 9, that says this, “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving kindness” —now this is what I love— “to a thousandth generation....”  Man, is that compound interest or what?!

Dennis:  Yes.

Steve:  And oftentimes, in the conferences we do, I’ll have a guy say, “Now, Steve, wait a minute.  You’re telling me I’m supposed to lead my family—anchor my family—for a hundred years?”  Well, when you take you, and your son, and your grandson on a timeline, you’ve got a hundred years. 

I don’t have grandkids.  In a hundred years, will I know who those kids are—those grandkids or those great grandkids?  No, I probably won’t; but you know what?  They should know who I was.  They should know who you were—not because we left them a lot of money or because we’re so smart—we’re not; but because of our love for Christ--because we hung in there.

Bob:  Yes.

Steve:  See, I really believe that God wants to bless us so that in a hundred years—we’re not looking to be legends; but, you know what?  We need some legends.

Dennis:  Oh, we sure do!

Steve:  We need some legends, Dennis.

Dennis:  You know, you think of what’s happening today in the press and the media attacking heroes.

Steve:  Yes.

Dennis:  As a boy, I remember feeding off of my heroes.

Steve:  Oh, yes!

Dennis:  I had some guys—some sports heroes, war heroes, even political heroes—

Steve:  Yes.

Dennis:  —that anchored me as a young man—but none more powerful than Hook Rainey, my dad. 

Steve:  Yes, yes.

Dennis:  His nickname was Hook because he had a real wicked curveball; okay?  It wasn’t evil, but the batters thought it was.

Steve:  Yes.

Dennis:  He was a good man and, you know what?  I still live off of the legacy of Hook Rainey—

Steve:  That’s right; that’s right.

Dennis:  —who was a man of integrity.  If I would have had a father who didn’t have integrity, I don’t know that I could be sitting behind a microphone today. 

Steve:  Yes; that’s right.

Dennis:  I don’t know that I would still be loving and leading my wife because what is a commitment to your wife but that of integrity?  It’s making good on a promise.  It’s living up to that commitment.

Steve:  That’s right.

Bob:  You know, I sit here, today, thinking about my five kids and the fact that it’s likely that some of those five kids are going to have kids of their own—my grandchildren—and that may go even beyond to the next generation.  I’d love to think that every one of those kids and every one of those grandkids would be walking in the faith, consistently throughout their lifetime.  Yet, I’ve heard one person describe what often happens in a family—where you have a first generation that is faithful, a second generation that kind of hitchhikes off the first generation’s Christianity, and the third generation apostatizes.

Steve:  Right.

Bob:  So how do I be an anchor man and not fall into that trap?

Steve:  Yes.  Bruce Wilkinson is the guy that I heard come up with that and identify that.  As you start reading Scripture, you see that.  Our kids go through times—no one has perfect kids.  There are no perfect parents.  We all go through stuff; we’re all in the same boat; but there are times—we went through a time last year—about a six-month time—with one of my kids.  It was their tough time.  I was not only praying for them; I was fasting for them.  “Lord, I don’t have what it takes.  I don’t have the wisdom.  I don’t know what to do here.”  I think we have some weapons at our disposal—that if we will utilize the weapons—if we will ask God— “You have not because you ask not.”

Dennis:  Yes.

Steve:  Have we ever asked God for our grandchildren to all come to Christ?  My question is, “How many people have ever prayed that prayer?”  If we were to pray it consistently, my feeling is, as I read Scripture, why would God not honor a request like that—that would bring glory to His name?  I believe that.  I believe we have a weapon that we’ve allowed to get dusty, and to sit on the shelf, and we haven’t used it.

Dennis:  Really, what you’re talking about, Steve, is a lack of vision.  You’ve reminded us how to do that.  It begins with prayer.  I’d like to add a couple to that, if I could, because as we pray, I think, secondly, we need to live our lives—and you talk about this in your book—we need to live our lives in light of those three generations—

Steve:  That’s right.

Dennis:  —so that our model is worth being copied; okay?

Steve:  That’s right; that’s right.

Dennis:  And then a third, I think, is to challenge our children to pass on the reality of Christ in their lives to their children—

Steve:  Yes.

Dennis:  —and then to challenge their children to pass it on to their children.  At that point, you have a relay race where the baton is being handed off to generation after generation.

Bob:  You know, I’d love to think, just as you talked about it—I’d love to think that two generations from now, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren would look back and say, “You’ve heard, haven’t you, about Grandpa Bob?” —

Steve:  Yes.

Bob:  —or, “...about Great-grandpa Bob?”  Not because I want the glory for me, but our families need an anchor—something they point back at and say, “That’s our legacy!”  That’s powerful; isn’t it?

Steve:  You know, I was sitting here thinking—Dennis, we had a lunch probably 12 or 13 years ago—just chatting.  I remember you talking about postage stamps.  The issue was that you had stamps in your desk for the ministry; but for a personal letter you’d written or something, “Do you use the postage stamp that the ministry had bought for your personal letter?”

Dennis:  Yes.

Steve:  That was the issue you were dealing with that day, that had come before you.  You didn’t use the postage stamp—you went and got your own postage stamp.  That’s how you lead a family for a hundred years.

“How do I lead a family for a hundred years?”  By following Christ with my whole heart today.  That’s how you do it.

Dennis:  You know, every man today wants to know how you do that practically.  That’s where a book like Anchor Man is so powerful because it fills in the blanks, Bob.  It’s one thing to have that vision out on the horizon of three generations; but if a guy is left to kind of scratch his head and think, “What does that look like?  How do you get there?”

Steve, I think, really does a great job in this book of illustrating this through other men’s lives and showing us, biblically, how to get there from here.

Bob:  You know—it’s hard when you’re in the thick of it, as a parent, to think that your children will ever rise up and call you blessed [Laughter] because, right now, they’re just rising up and calling you—

Dennis:  “It’s mutiny at our place!”

Steve:  They’re calling you other things.

Bob:  —calling you crazy!  [Laughter]

Dennis:  I don’t know what it is at your house; but it is mutiny at our house, occasionally!

Steve:  Yes!

Bob:  But you know, the point is, “You can do it—”

Steve:  Sure!

Bob:  —if you’re faithful—you persevere as a dad.”  Obviously, we can’t ensure the spiritual change in our children’s lives.  That’s a work of the Spirit; but we can put the kind of fertilizer around their lives so that when God does a work, they’re ready to grow.

Steve does a great job in this book, Anchor Man, to help us, as dads, know what that fertilization process ought to look like.  We’ve got copies of the book, Anchor Man, in our FamilyLifeResource Center.  You can go to our website,, to request a copy of the book, Anchor Man, by Steve Farrar.  Again, our website is; or call, toll-free—1-800-FL-TODAY is the number; 1-800-358-6329.  That’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY”.  Order from us by phone or go online, again, at

We want to remind you that on Saturday, August 4th, we’ve got a special event happening for men.  In fact, this is going to be happening in churches all around the country.  It’s a live National Men’s Simulcast.  It’s going to originate from Chicago.  There are churches, all around the country—that are host churches—where this event is going to take place.  James MacDonald, Dennis Rainey, Crawford Lorrits, and Robert Lewis are all speaking on that day.  It’s a Saturday morning men’s event. 

If you’d like to find out more about where one of these events is being hosted, in a city near where you live, so that you can attend or if you’re interested in hosting one of these—I know it’s just a couple of weeks away—but there’s still time for your church to be a host site for the Stepping Up National Men’s Simulcast.  Go to for more information about how you can participate, either by attending or by hosting a site for the National Men’s Simulcast.

Again, the website is  If you’ve never heard Dennis address this issue of men stepping up and being the men that God has called them to be, we’d like to send you a two-CD set.  Actually, it’s a message from Dennis about men stepping up and a message from Barbara about what a wife can do to help her husband step up. 

These two messages, on audio CD, are our thank-you gift for you this month when you help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with a donation.  As you know, FamilyLife Today is listener -supported.  We rely on folks, like you, to help with the production and syndication costs for this radio program.

Again, you can make an online donation at this month or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and make a donation over the phone.  You can request a copy of the two-CD set from Dennis and Barbara Rainey on Stepping Up to Manhood.  Again, we want to say, “Thanks,” in advance, for your support.  We appreciate those of you who come alongside us and help us defray the costs associated with this program.

We want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow when we’re going to get some coaching tips for dads from “Coach Farrar” about how we can be anchor men in our families.  That comes up tomorrow.  We hope you can be here.

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

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