2/2 Laughter and Tears
About the Guest
Last November, FamilyLife passed a milestone. Hear a very special 20th anniversary message as Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine join colleagues to reflect on the triumphs, failures, outtakes, and heart piercing moments from the last 20 years.
Hear a very special 20th anniversary message.
2/2 Laughter and Tears
Bob: Have you ever forgotten an anniversary? Wound up in the dog house? Well, we did not forget FamilyLife®’s recent 20th anniversary. We got our team together and celebrated 20 years of broadcasting on FamilyLife Today; but we realized later, we had left somebody out of the celebration—and that is you.
This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, April 2nd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to bring you along today as we reflect on 20 years of broadcasting on FamilyLife Today. We’ll have some fun in the process. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. You know—
Dennis: Got all kinds of calls yesterday, Bob, about the beginning of our show—[Laughter]
Dennis: —and Focus on the Family. We had fun with that spoof; didn’t we?
Bob: Yes. We had a good time as Jim Daly and John Fuller hijacked FamilyLife Today. We returned the favor on Focus on the Family [Laughter]—had a little April Fools’ fun to start off the program.
Dennis: And didn’t tell the stations, across the country, that we were doing it.
Bob: No, and I think there were—had to be some guys who were at the station—
Bob: —loading up the program going, “I got the wrong program on the radio! I must have put Focus on the Family on where FamilyLife Today is supposed to be!”
Dennis: Good friends.
Bob: They are good friends and doing a great work. They stopped by to congratulate us on 20 years of doing what we do, here at FamilyLife Today—which we reached that milestone back in November. November 9th, 1992 was when we first went on the air.
Dennis: Quite a ride; huh?
Bob: And now, here after 20—now, it is 20-and-a-half years that we’ve been on the air.
Bob: And we thought, “The listeners missed out on the celebration—our 20-year celebration. We ought to bring them in on it.”
Dennis: And if you missed the earlier broadcast, you need to check out the fun that we had on it; but today is going to start with a riot of laughter.
Bob: Yes. We start off, again, with our friend, Emmitt Fowler, who was the emcee as we got the whole team together for this celebration. You’re going to hear a rare, radio appearance by our engineer, Keith Lynch.
[Previously recorded audio]
Emmitt: Hey, Keith, grab a microphone there just real quick. I’m going to have you give some of these numbers that you and I were discussing earlier. You already mentioned 5,200—
Emmitt: Wow, Monday will be 5,200 programs.
Emmitt: How many words do you estimate that you have heard Dennis and Bob utter over the last 20 years?
Keith: Different words? [Laughter]
Emmitt: Well, I know there are some repeats in there.
Bob: It’s in the 60’s now. It’s in the 60’s, yes.
Keith: Well, I think—
Dennis: Keith, you really hurt me on that one. I know I have a limited vocabulary, but—
Bob: Are you counting yesterday and yesterdee as two words?
Dennis: Or progrum and program?
Bob: Yes—two different words.
Keith: One day, when I was really busy, I decided I would figure out how many words they had said. So, I have a little spreadsheet; and I click on it every day. I think I remember right now it is 24 million-ish.
Emmitt: 24 million words—
Emmitt: —that you’ve listened to.
Keith: —that make it on the air.
Emmitt: Right; right.
Keith: Yes, based on transcripts—because on a show, where there are men, about 2,500 words per show—on a show, where there are women, about 3,500 words per show.
Dennis: Is that true?
Keith: That’s true. Yes, women always talk more.
Emmitt: Now, the number I have—again, I can’t verify the numbers. I don’t make this stuff up. I just read what’s on here, you know? But the number I have is: 24,568—“No doubt about it, Bob.” [Laughter]
Keith: We’ll be in the studio later to give it a go.
Emmitt: It gets worse.
Dennis: That one wasn’t funny. [Laughter] It’s going to go downhill from here!
Emmitt: Well, you know what?
Dennis: Yes, you know what!
Emmitt: It gets worse: [Laughter] 33,143—“You know what?”s.
Bob: “You know what;” yes.
Emmitt: But he doesn’t get off the hook. I’ve got 29,339: “Mmm, hmm”—powerful. He is a very agreeable person.
Dennis: No, he had indigestion. [Laughter]
Keith: Okay, here’s something you guys have got to know. You’ve never heard Bob laugh. Give them the fake laugh, Bob. [Bob laughs]
Bob: I have to do it all the time.
Keith: I’m just saying—the fake laugh. [Bob laughs]
Bob: Dan Allender was an early guest. One of Dan’s—everybody—look, every speaker has crutch phrases; okay? We have these things that we just reflexively do. I mean, it’s a part of what you do.
Emmitt: “No doubt about it.”
Bob: Yes, “No doubt about it.” [Laughter] And one of Dan Allender’s crutch phrases is—he likes to say, “There’s a sense in which,”—“There’s a sense in which.” So, Keith had heard it enough times that, one time when Dan came in, Keith had made a little Kewpie doll that was a witch. He called it the “Sense in Witch.” Here’s Dan Allender’s “Sense in Witch.”
Keith: He stopped saying it.
Dennis: And give them Gary Smalley—how he would say his.
Bob: [Impersonating Gary Smalley] Well, here’s the thing Gary Smalley would say, “There are three principles. These are three amazing—if you apply these three principles in your marriage, you will see a revolution. It’s amazing. It is really amazing.”
Emmitt: You can take that on the road—very good!
Bob: Thank you.
Emmitt: While we’re talking about numbers, I also have down here: 2,500—and I think this number is low—2,568 chicken Caesar salads from the Purple Cow.
Bob: That’s probably low.
Emmitt: That’s their favorite place to go.
Bob: And Christy has ordered 99.7 percent of those, and driven, and picked them all up.
Dennis: It’s a team meal.
Bob: That’s right.
Dennis: It’s the team meal. We started doing it early on, and—yes.
Bob: When I came here in July of ‘92 to first talk about radio, that’s what we had for lunch.
Emmitt: The very first time?
Bob: The first time. So, we just made that the lunch every time—until there was a season in ‘08—there was a season in ‘08 where we were tightening the budget. We said, “Can we reduce the cost of those salads?” I mean, they cost nine dollars each. So, we got chicken Caesar salads from Panera® because they were seven dollars each—just to try to tighten things up.
Keith: Then, they divided them three ways. [Laughter]
Emmitt: We’ve got a little more ground, here, I’m hoping to cover before we have to wrap up; but—Dennis, after doing this for 20 years, we now have a second generation of listeners, really—people that have grown up listening to the program—people that have been ministered to through the program and through you, personally.
I want the staff to hear a clip from Jennie Allen. Then, I want you to tell them the significance of Jennie being on the program and your role in her life.
[Jennie Allen clip]
Jennie: Let me just give a few disclaimers because I am a woman who has fought this battle—I have been down this road. One, control is a complete illusion. It is not real. We do not have control. So, even if we think we do, we do not. And I think that has been the humor of God, in my life, as I prayed this prayer. I think He keeps saying, “Yes, you really can’t control.” So, number one, control is an illusion.
But number two, control does not bring happiness. If we do take—I’m about to say, “Take the wheel,” which is hysterical; okay? If we do take the wheel—country song, cue music in the background [Laughter]—and if we take that, and control, and try to maneuver our life, I can promise you it will not be even remotely close to following, and chasing God, and living the lives and the stories that He’s written.
[End of Jennie Allen clip]
Emmitt: Tell the staff—who Jennie is and the significance.
Dennis: Well, I think the story you’re reflecting on is—wasn’t she in my sixth grade—
Emmitt: She was.
Dennis: —Sunday school class—a number of years ago. Grew up—married a young man, who is pastoring a church in Austin, Texas—and now, is an author and, also, I think, blogging and has some great—is creating some great tools for the next generation. So, yes, it’s interesting.
I met one at Southern Seminary, too, who as an eight-year-old boy, grew up listening to FamilyLife Today in Washington, DC—and today, is a seminary student at Southern.
Dennis: And he got his picture, he said, of what marriage and family was all about—not just from his mom and dad, who had a great marriage, and whose mom listened to the broadcast on the way to take him to school—but he just came up and expressed appreciation. Those are really humbling to think that God would use us in an eight-year-old’s life.
Emmitt: You know—we’ve looked back. Now, we’re seeing the fruits of 20 years with the second generation.
Let’s talk, just for a minute—and I’m going to direct this to you, Bob, to look into the future, if you can. Let’s talk about the future of radio. We’re in a digital age. Radio has certainly changed. There would be some that are predicting the demise of radio. As the one who really is the creative voice behind the program, where do you see FamilyLife Today going and the future of radio going? Should we keep doing it?
Bob: Well, the demise of radio has been predicted at times in the past. When television came on, people said, “That’s it for radio.” Radio re-tweaked—re-invented itself. I don’t see radio going away as a vehicle for content distribution. Ultimately, that is what it is. It’s a vehicle for content distribution.
What I see happening is the emergence of new vehicles. And what we do—in fact, the radio team became the audio team a number of years ago when we said, “Really, what we do is audio-content creation.” The distribution channel is secondary. We want to be in every meaningful distribution channel we can be in.
And I remember ten years ago, when satellite radio came on. People said, “Well, that’s it for local radio. Who’s going to listen to local radio when they can get satellite?” And you know what? We went on satellite radio for three years, and we got two responses over three years. We dropped off satellite radio, at that point, because it was not a meaningful distribution channel.
Then, podcasting, ten years—not ten years, probably, five years ago—everybody was saying, “Podcasting—that’s going to be the end of radio. When everybody can do their own podcast, who’s going to listen to the radio?” I said, “Well, when everybody can do their own podcasts, you’re going to start hearing some really bad podcasts.” If you look at the podcast list on iTunes®, right now, and look at what the top podcasts are—they are radio programs that are distributed through iTunes.
It’s—there’s still—the folks who are going to make the biggest impact, going forward, are folks who understand how to synergize traditional media and new media so that they serve one another well. That’s what we’re committed to, and that’s the path of the future. That’s the direction—that’s where we’re headed.
Emmitt: One of the first guests, after I arrived here in 2006, was a guy named RV Brown. You guys remember RV Brown? One of my favorite moments was when Dennis asked him to give a tribute to his dad. Do you remember what he called his dad? Anybody remember?
Dennis: Willie Fish. RV Brown was one of 18—
Emmitt: Seventeen, I think. I think 17.
Dennis: Was it 17 children?
Emmitt: I could be wrong—large family. But we’ve got a one-minute clip of RV Brown giving a tribute to his dad. Listen.
[RV Brown clip]
RV: Daddy Fish, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart —first of all, for loving my momma—and then, secondly, for loving me, and kissing me, and rubbing my little, round head, telling me to go to school and everything was going to be okay. Then, Dad, I want to thank you for taking me fishing July 6, 1959, for the first time.
And Dad, I want to just tell you what an awesome leader you were. With no education, Dad, you taught me—you educated me how to love. Dad, thank you for teaching me how to farm, and to take care of other people, and to share whatever I’ve got with other people. Dad, I’m the kind of man I am today because of who you are. Dad, thank you for loving Momma. Thank you for the leadership and the authority in which you raised us. Thank you for the discipline.
And most of all, Father, I want to thank you for that hug, and that kiss, and that little rubbing my little, round head and saying, “You’re going to be okay, son.” Dad, I love you.
[End of RV clip]
Emmitt: That’s pretty cool; isn’t it?
Emmitt: Bob, tell the staff, with Veteran’s Day, coming up on Sunday—tell the staff about something exciting we’re doing, internationally.
Bob: This has just happened here recently. Michelle Hill’s been working on this—appreciate her hard work to pull it off. FamilyLife Today is going to be heard, beginning this month, on AFN. Anybody know what AFN is? It is the Armed Forces Network—175 outlets around the world.
Now, each local station has its own program director; so, they don’t just take the network feed. They have to select what they want; but the chaplain who oversees all of the religious programing on AFN is really encouraging these stations to air FamilyLife Today. In fact, he wrote to us and said, “I want to convey my praise and thanks to your wonderful staff for your gracious efforts in ministry that’s made FamilyLife Today available on AFN.” The potential audience is over a million patriots, stationed around the world. And he’s working hard to promote the program on our network.
We’ve also been told, from a stateside chaplain, that the reach of AFN is greater than just the military community because these expats—that are living in a lot of these areas around the bases—love having an English language radio program that they can tune into. So, a lot of English-speaking nationals and expats are also tuned into AFN. So, 175 countries and 200 ships that have access to AFN, as well. That’s in the declining military ship—no, we don’t want to go there. Sorry! [Laughter] Sorry! Sorry! I know. I know. Devil gets into me sometimes. [Laughter]
But we’re thrilled about the opportunity to be on AFN. Some of what—yes, some of these ships even go under water. [Laughter] Anyway—yes, I know. We’re thrilled about it, and one of the first programs that they’re going to get a chance to hear—from the widow of—
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Bob: —a fallen comrade, a Navy SEAL, who gave his life. Kelley Brown lives in Hot Springs. Her husband, Adam, died in combat. His SEAL team—after the mission was completed—his body brought back—there was a memorial service held for Adam, down in Hot Springs. Listen as Kelley retells that story.
[Kelley Brown clip]
Dennis: Kelley, Adam was buried seven days later at a small cemetery. His buddies, Navy SEAL Team Six, weren’t there.
Kelley: No, they weren’t.
Dennis: They were able to come back, though—
Kelley: They did.
Dennis: —at a later time.
Kelley: Yes, after they finished their deployment, they all came home. They spent some time with us—spent a couple days in Hot Springs. They wanted to see what this Hot Springs, Arkansas, was all about because that’s all Adam talked about was Arkansas. They wanted to see where he was from. So, they loved the lake. They spent so much time on the lake. They pulled our kids around on the floaties. They were riding jet skis.
It was just a good time of remembering Adam. And it was so inspiring, and it just made my heart swell with such pride that my husband served with men like these. So, the very next day, pretty much the whole command flies into Hot Springs. Then, we had kind of a command funeral for Adam, out at the cemetery.
There was a friend of ours, Kevin—they called him Uncle Juicy. He was really struggling with why Adam had to leave this world. This big, tough guy—that we had invited to church for years, and years, and years came—Kevin, May 15, 2011, walked to the front of our church, humbled himself, dropped to his knees in front of our church with his hands raised up high and asked the Lord to come into his heart.
But the thing about that is, you know, I kept telling myself: “God, why Adam? Why Adam? Why did you take him?” He had to go first because all of the men that were with my husband the night of his mission—all the men of—the ones that came back and paid the tribute to Adam—they all perished last August 2011—August 6th. It was the Chinook that went down.
[Emotion in voice] So, I lost a lot of friends that day—Kevin Houston, John Faas, and Brian Bill—I could just list the names. I could list them. These heroes that ran in that compound to risk their lives to bring my husband home safely—they are now gone. So, now, I realize that Adam had to go first. He had to go first because they learned—
Dennis: They heard.
Kelley: —they heard the story of Jesus. They saw His love through Adam, and I’m thankful for that.
Dennis: [Emotion in voice] Well, you know, Kelley, there’s no way to express what, undoubtedly, our listeners are feeling for Adam, and for you, and your son, and daughter for protecting us. And I know many have said, “Thank you;” but I feel compelled to say it one more time.
Kelley: You know, that’s all I need to hear—is a thank you.
[End of Kelley Brown clip]
Emmitt: Chief Petty Officer Adam Brown is buried in a small cemetery in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His widow Kelley now lives in Hot Springs with her two children who attend the same elementary school their father Adam did, more than two decades ago.
Dennis: I feel compelled to just read a passage to summarize 20 years. “Now, to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. To Him be the glory. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Bob: Well, a great look back at 20 years. I sometimes wish we could just feature some of the highlights; but I guess we do. I mean, at some level, every day, what we’re airing has been a highlight of one sort or another as we’ve had hundreds of guests, heard hundreds of stories, and shared how God is at work in the lives of couples, families, all around the world.
Dennis: We’ve shared, back and forth, between one another many times, Bob, how it is amazing that we have that privilege of hearing these stories of redemption—
Dennis: —and how God worked out His purposes through broken people. And I’m going to tell you—the past 20 years have been a great privilege—but I think the next 20 are going to be our best yet because we have got some big plans in place to make an impact, across our nation, at the grassroots’ level, of unleashing people to make a difference where they live in their neighborhoods, their churches, their communities, and their states.
Bob: And we do—and I think it would be appropriate for us to acknowledge here that the past 20 years have been made possible by listeners who have said: “We like what you guys are doing. It’s ministering to us, and we want to see that continue to expand and grow and happen more and more.”
Dennis: And I want to say, “Thank you,” to those who have given one-time gifts—Legacy Partners, who support us on a regular basis. Thank you for your gifts, large and small—for your faithfulness to us. I’m with Bob—there is absolutely no way you could build out a broadcast like this and have the excellence that we have without folks—not only giving—but standing with you, on a regular basis, to make this ministry possible.
I really believe that we’re in a real battle for the most basic unit of our nation and the Church. I think we have to win this battle for marriage and family. I think we do that by going back to the Scriptures, and calling people to be obedient to the One who wrote them, and, generationally, passing that truth on to our children and grandchildren. That’s what we’re about.
Bob: And I don’t know all of what heaven is going to be like; but I’d like to think that we could get an hour in heaven where we could get everybody who was involved in listening to and giving to FamilyLife Today—
Bob: —and get them all together in some giant hall and hear stories about how God was at work in the ministry—hear stories of what God did—of course, Jesus would be there. He’d be the One that we’d be focused on and celebrating in the midst of all of that; but to hear how He has chosen to use this ministry, redemptively, in the lives of so many folks. If that happens in heaven, we’ll make sure you get an invitation; okay?—that you can come out and be with us for that listener event up there.
And I was going to say, “We’d have some special seating for our Legacy Partners up there,” but I don’t think you can save seats in heaven. I think that’s against the rules in heaven; but we do want to say, “Thanks,” now, to our Legacy Partners—those of you who help support this ministry each month. Your contributions are what make this program possible. You help cover the costs of producing and syndicating FamilyLife Today. We couldn’t do what we do without you.
And over the last several weeks, we’ve been asking you to consider becoming a Legacy Partner—making a monthly contribution. We’ll stay in touch with you. We’ll send you a welcome kit with some resources in it for your marriage, for your family—and keep in touch, throughout the year. If you’d like to join the Legacy Partner team, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “I CARE”. All the information you need about becoming a Legacy Partner is right there. Once again, it’s FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “I CARE”; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say, “I want to become a Legacy Partner.” We’ll get you taken care of.
And with that, I want to thank our engineer, Keith Lynch, for his help with today’s program and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. Hope to see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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