A Biblical Response to Cultural Shifts
About the Guest
Who would have thought just forty years ago that the Christians would ever have to conduct a leadership conference to develop strategies to deal with gay marriage? Join us as Dennis Rainey speaks to that conference, and winsomely delivers a timeless Biblical solution to the issue.
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
At a recent leadership conference to develop strategies to deal with gay marriage, Dennis Rainey winsomely delivers a timeless Biblical solution to the issue.
A Biblical Response to Cultural Shifts
Bob: You are a part of a family; right? All of us are, but is your family about something bigger than yourselves? Here’s Dennis Rainey.
Dennis: A family is not designed by God to be a holy huddle but to pierce the darkness. It’s meant to go into the community and touch people in their neighborhood, their business, their school with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to be challenging singles and marrieds, alike, with what their part is in the Great Commission.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, February 17th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Have you and your family ever talked together about how you can work together to advance the cause of the Kingdom? Dennis Rainey talks about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. We’re going to get a chance today to hear Part Two of a message that you shared with pastors, back last fall, at an event in Nashville— a sold-out event on The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage in our country. We’re going to hear Part Two of that message, coming up in just a minute.
I just found out that, while you were in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this past week and I was out in Colorado Springs at the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway, out at the Broadmoor Hotel, which by the way is a lovely hotel—
Dennis: I know—stayed there on my honeymoon.
Bob: How much did you pay for a room?
Dennis: I think it was $22 a night.
Bob: They were paying a little more this time around. [Laughter]
While we were out doing that, there were a lot of churches that picked Valentine’s weekend as a weekend to host an Art of Marriage® event in their church—Friday night/Saturday marriage getaway—on Valentine’s weekend. I thought, “That’s a great idea!”
Dennis: It really is. We’ve had over 600,000 people, in the last four years, whose lives have been impacted through The Art of Marriage, just in English alone. This is available now in Spanish and in Mandarin. We’re trying to take the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ / the blueprints of Scripture and wrap them around the first institution God created—marriage—and take the help and hope of Scripture and the person of Christ to them. In some cases, introduce people to real Christianity / a real relationship with Christ.
Bob: I have to tell you—I’ve talked with folks recently who regularly go on mission trips to countries in Central or South America. I’ve started saying to them: “You know what you should do? You should take The Art of Marriage in Spanish every time you go.”
Bob: “Just take a kit down and give it to somebody down there.
“This is dubbed in Spanish so folks can hear it in their own language. There are Spanish manuals.” We really believe that the content of The Art of Marriage, which is core biblical teaching on marriage, can have an impact, globally.
Dennis: We have to reestablish a culture of marriage, in my opinion, according to the Bible. Now, if somebody wants to represent another authority, they can. I don’t know what that authority would be, Bob, since it was God who created marriage and not man.
Dennis: What man’s tried to do is redefine what God established. I think that’s a big mistake. What FamilyLife Today is doing here, every day, is presenting the help and hope of Scripture, practically and authentically, to people—for them to apply to their marriage and family. The Art of Marriage and the Weekend to Remember are just a couple of the tools we use around here. We’ve had over 150,000 men go through the Stepping Up® video series—
—a ten-part series where men can begin to interact with the Bible about what it says about real manhood and how they can step up and assume their responsibility.
Bob: Yes. We had a lot of men, back last month, who heard about Stepping Up and said, “That would be great for us to do this spring.” So, we renamed the first month of the year—made it “Manuary.” We have guys, who are saying: “We’re going to go through Stepping Up.” So, we have a lot of kits that we sent out and a lot of guys who are going through the material right now.
Dennis: I shared earlier this week that I was down near Atlanta and spoke to 125 homeless men, who’d been through Stepping Up. I sat down at a table with three or four guys, who were having dinner. One of them said: “You know, Dennis, when I was a boy, I never saw my dad. The first time I met him was when I was 25, and he’s been incarcerated my entire life.”
He said: “My mom would get high on drugs and she’d leave. She’d leave for weeks at a time. My dad wasn’t there / my mom was gone, and it was just us kids.” I said, “How old were you?”
He said, “Six.” I said, “Did you have any older brothers or sisters to care for you?” “No.” I said, “How did you get to school?” “It was across the street.” He said, “Dennis, when men come and share an opinion with me, I think, ‘That really sounds right.’ And then another guy shares another opinion with me,”—he said—“and that sounds right. I get really confused, as a man.”
I said, “You know, because you didn’t have a dad, you don’t have a plumb line.” He said: “That’s right. That’s what Stepping Up gave me. It gave me the image of what a real man is / what a real man does. It gave me the biblical plumb line / the biblical standard for how a real man is to love, serve, lead and be responsible for others.”
I had one guy, Bob, at this homeless gathering that I spoke at—125 guys there. He came up and said: “You know, I just realized, as I went through Stepping Up, that I’ve never been responsible for anyone.
“I’ve gone through my entire adult life”—in his 40s—“and Stepping Up helped me to understand I’m not here for myself. I need to be here for others—for my wife / my children.”
Man after man came up and just talked about how they’d finally gotten it. I think a lot of men today—they don’t have to be in a homeless shelter or a penitentiary / they can be in the boardrooms—a lot of men—their canvas is empty / it’s blank. They don’t know what a real man is, what a real man does, what a man who follows after Jesus Christ is like. We’re all about helping that occur and helping that happen across our country.
Bob: It’s also been cool to hear from a lot of dads who are taking teenage sons through the Stepping Up material.
Dennis: I love that.
Bob: It’s a great discipleship tool. And speaking of discipleship tools, we’re hard at work, right now, on a tool that we hope to have out in the next several months.
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Bob: This is a follow-up that we are creating to the Passport2Purity® experience.
A lot of dads have taken their sons, just before puberty, away for a weekend to talk about what’s coming in the teen years—to talk about the birds and the bees and to get them ready for what’s ahead. A lot of moms have done the same thing with their daughters, getting away for one of these Passport2Purity weekends.
Dennis: Yes, in fact, last night, Bob, I was with a couple of guys. One guy had been with his nine-year-old son, talking about the birds and the bees. You know what? Passport2Purity used to be for 11 and 12.
Dennis: You know what? It’s 9 to 12 now. Wherever your child is in that age range, they need to hear it first and foremost from you, as Dad / as Mom. This other guy was overhearing us—he said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Passport2Purity”; and he explained what it was. He goes: “I’ve got to get that for my business buddy. He’s looking for that.”
The other night, my cable was not working and Comcast® sent a repairman out. This guy found out what I did; and he said, “Have you got anything for my 14-year-old?
“I’m losing him! I need help.” I said, “I got the tool for you,” because he had two more children coming up. Here’s a guy, who said, “My dad was killed in a car wreck when I was six,” and he wants to help his children, not just survive the teenage years, but thrive and live in it, and come out of it a better person into adulthood.
Bob: I wish we had what we’re working on right now.
Dennis: Well, that’s what I was thinking because the identity issue—what kids are facing today—the sexual confusion—I mean, used to be—they just had one choice of whether they were going to be confused about what it meant to be a young man to become a man. They’ve now got multiple choice sexual identities, and they need all the help they can get.
Bob: So, our team has been working for more than a year to create a resource. This is another getaway for a mom and a daughter or a dad and a son—it’s called Passport to Identity™. It’s designed to address issues like: “What’s your spiritual identity?
“What does it really mean to make your faith your own? What does it mean that you’re a boy or a girl or a young man or a young woman? What are the differences? What is masculinity supposed to look like? What’s femininity supposed to look like?”
Dennis: And “What do I do if I’m confused? With all these cultural messages, what do I do with them?” Well, it’s not ready now—so don’t call the 800 number or don’t go online because it’s not ready—but it will be later this year.
Bob: And we really ought to stop here for a minute and just say, “Thank you,” to a group of folks, who not only help make this daily radio program possible—but the things we’re talking about here—you help make this possible when you join us as a Legacy Partner. A Legacy Partner is somebody who, each month, makes a contribution to support this ministry. Whatever amount works for you and your family, you make a monthly contribution to help support the work of FamilyLife Today. You provide the financial backbone for this ministry. We could not do what we do without our Legacy Partners.
Dennis: We couldn’t. In fact, 150,000 young men and women have been through Passport2Purity in the last four years. That’s an astounding number. Over half a million have been through Passport2Purity since we created it. A little resource like that—you have no idea how determinative that can be—and so we’re excited about this new one.
But we’re excited about being here on the air, every day, presenting you with help and with hope for your marriage / your family—the issues you’re facing. If we’re not covering the issues you’re facing, write us. Tell us where we’re missing it because we want to find the very best resources that we can to help you in life’s most important commitments—your relationship with God, your spouse, and your children.
Bob: Alright. We kind of got sidetracked here because—
Dennis: No, we weren’t sidetracked—this is what we do!
Bob: —we’re going to hear Part Two of a message that you presented to a group of pastors in Nashville, back last fall—
—challenging them to make marriage and family a cornerstone issue in their ministry in the local church and in their community—and to call the people who attend that church to be a part of this effort. Here’s Dennis Rainey with Part Two of a message given at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission National Conference last October.
Dennis: Do you know what one of the most often-found items in lost luggage is?—a wedding ring—people going on business trips and packing their rings because “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” or so they say.
I also think we have to create fresh symbols of the marriage covenant. When my children were married, Barbara and I decided we wanted to do something to make a statement. We hired a calligrapher to create a magnificent marriage covenant that was read aloud in the marriage ceremony.
Both our son / or our daughter that was getting married signed it and, then, their spouse signed it. Then, they invited the congregation to come up and begin to sign it and then sign it afterwards at the reception. I went over and stood by the marriage covenant. Two comments were a reflection of where we are, within the Christian community, about the marriage covenant.
One couple came up and said: “Man! They’re really serious about this; aren’t they?” Another one came up and said, “Now, look and see what they’ve gone and done.” Ladies and gentlemen, those of us who possess the Word of God are the guardians / the protectors and the keepers of the marriage covenant. If the church doesn’t exalt the marriage covenant in the culture, who will? Will government?—they’re just going to make it easier to get a divorce.
Stand strong. This is going to take courage. I love what Billy Graham said about courage. He said: “Courage is contagious. When one man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” We have to stand strong—number one: “A family reformation.”
Number two—and I won’t take as long on this one: We have to challenge husbands and wives to pray together. In our first months of marriage, I went to a friend—his name was Carl Wilson, a Presbyterian preacher. I asked him, “What’s the best piece of advice you can give me, starting out my marriage?” Do you know what he said? “That’s easy, Denny.” He said, “Pray every day with Barbara.” I had no idea how profound that would be.
So, I went home and started praying with Barbara. We chose to pray at the end of the day. For a couple of months, we did that every night. Then, one night, she was facing that wall / I was facing that one—and it wasn’t what was most comfortable, physically.
There was something between us. God came to me and said, “Aren’t you going to pray with her tonight?” I said, “Unh-uh. I don’t like her tonight, God.” [Laughter]
He said, “You need to ask her to forgive you.” I said, “But God, You know, in this situation, she’s 90 percent wrong”; and God said, “Yes, but your 10 percent caused her to be 90 percent wrong.” So I rolled over that night and tapped her on the shoulder. I said, “Would you forgive me for being 10 percent wrong?” [Laughter]
No, I did not do that! [Laughter] I did that one night and that night lasted for three days; okay? No, I rolled over and asked her to forgive me. You want to know what? When two stubborn, self-willed people, like Barbara and I are, bow their necks before Almighty God for 42 years, do you know what happens? God shows up and He shows off.
He turns two depraved—what Bill Bright used to refer to as “depraved termites”—into objects of glory, as we hang in there with each other. My question to you is: “Do you pray with your spouse every day?” If not, you ought to vow before God to do that before you leave here.
First: A family reformation; secondly: A reformation of prayer between husbands and wives in the church. Remember the slogan in the 50s? “The family that prays together”—what?—“stays together.”
Third: Enlist, equip and empower couples to become missional. James Patterson and Peter Kim in their fine book, The Day America Told the Truth, found out that Americans were so upset about the moral decay of the nation that 50 percent of all Americans would volunteer up to three weeks a year to help fix America.
They are out there—people who want to make a difference. Last night, David Platt exhorted us: “Marriages were made for the glorious display and proclamation of the gospel.”
There is a couple here who proclaim the gospel—Scott and Sherry Jennings. Their marriage was dead, as in DOA—divorced. They repented, they met Christ, and their lives were redeemed. They locked arms, shoulder to shoulder, with a finish line before them. Now, three years later, they’ve impacted more than 2,500 other lives through hosting events and taking God’s plan for marriage close to people who are also broken.
They’re out there. Why?—because we were made for a mission. We have to start where Jesus left off—His words / His final words in Matthew, where He said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The family is the original Great Commission training center. The Great Commission begins at home, but it’s not intended to stay at home. The family is not designed by God to be a holy huddle, but to pierce the darkness. It’s meant to go into the community and touch people in their neighborhood, their businesses, and their schools with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We need to be challenging singles and marrieds, alike, with what their part is in the Great Commission. We need to ask them: “Why are you here? What is your purpose as a single?—as a couple? What do you pound the table about? What would you give your life to?”
I had the privilege of having dinner the other night with David Green, CEO and founder of Hobby Lobby. He made an interesting comment about ISIS. He said: “Do you know why they’re winning? Because they are more passionate than we are. They’ll die for their cause!”
It’s interesting—David Green is kind of living up to what he talked about because—do you know what the Green family is doing? They purchased a little piece of property, two blocks south of the Smithsonian; and it’s going to become the Bible museum—420,000 square feet—raising between $800 and $900 million to make it a world-class exclamation point of how our nation was founded and based on the Scriptures. [Applause]
There’s a man / there is a family who are making a difference in the Great Commission.
Couples need to be asked: “What is your mission, as a couple? What do you do together?” Your marriage has to be built to outlast your kids. To do that, there’s nothing like running the race with the friend of your youth, all the way to the finish line, being stretched out, I think, on behalf of families. There is plenty of work to be done in the church—marriage preparation mentors, newly-married mentors, new parent mentors, marriage-in-crisis mentors. This was not meant to be an inverted pyramid, placing all the responsibility on the pastor. It was meant to deploy the family reformation army into the fields.
When Jesus looked out and saw the people, what did He do? He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. He prayed and He challenged the disciples, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth the laborers into the harvest, for the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” They are out there—they are waiting for the call. Will you tap them on the shoulder? Will you unite them and call them up? I think it’s the only hope for our nation to experience a spiritual revival—is to call the church to become Great Commissional.
Father—thank You for these men and women, who invested in these days. Would you light a fire under them, and more importantly, light a fire in the pews of the people they go to church with?—
—that people would no longer be willing to do nothing, but they would roll up their sleeves and be courageous in addressing the great opportunity for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In our Savior’s name we ask it. Amen.
Bob: Well, again, we have been listening to Part Two of a message from Dennis Rainey presented to a group of pastors. Your challenge to them was: “Share the load. Don’t just put it all on your back and say ‘I have to do this.’”
Dennis: Oh, yes. They are overworked and underpaid and need the laymen in the church to grab hold of a tool and make a difference. Grab The Art of Marriage/Stepping Up and decide to be a difference-maker.
Bob: The Bible says that it is a pastor’s responsibility to equip the saints to do the work of service.
It’s our responsibility—those of us who are a part of a local church—to do the work of ministry.
Bob: We’re to be equipped to do it by our pastors and our leaders, and we’re to do the work. I think all of us have to ask: “What are we doing? What’s our part in advancing the Kingdom?” As you said, that might be leading a Stepping Up series with a group of guys, that might be bringing some couples into your home and going through The Art of Marriage small group material or hosting an Art of Marriage event in your local church. The question is: “How has God gifted you? What are your passions, and how can you put those together to help advance the work of the Kingdom?”
Of course, one of the ways that some of our listeners are helping to advance the work of the Kingdom is by partnering with us, financially, here at FamilyLife—to make this daily radio program possible / to help us with the resources that we’re developing—all that we’re doing through the ministry of FamilyLife. It’s all happening because we have listeners who pitch in and help make it happen.
We want to say, “Thank you,” today to those of you who do help support this ministry financially. We are grateful for your partnership with us, especially those of you who are Legacy Partners. Here, during the month of February, we are encouraging listeners to consider joining with us and helping to support this ministry on a monthly basis, making a donation each month to help defray the costs—of producing and syndicating this daily radio program, the cost of our website, and the resources that we develop for marriages and families.
If you’d like to look at what’s involved in becoming a Legacy Partner, you can go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper right-hand corner that says, “I CARE.” All the information about joining with us as a Legacy Partner is found there—information about the welcome kit that we’ll send you when you sign on as a Legacy Partner.
Of course, we’ll keep in touch with you throughout the year—let you know about what God is doing through this ministry / let you know about new resources that are available. We’ll just stay connected because we really do view you as essential to the work of this ministry when you join with us, as a monthly donor.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I CARE,” to find out how you can become a monthly supporter of FamilyLife Today as a Legacy Partner. Or you call if you have any questions at 1-800-FL-TODAY—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800 “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Well, we appreciate you being with us today. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. Hope you can be back with us again tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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