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World Avoiders or World Changers?
Guest: Dennis Rainey
From the series: Your Home Is an Embassy (Day 2 of 5)
Air date: August 23, 2016
Bob: As a parent, should you be teaching your children to be world avoiders or world changers? Here’s Dennis Rainey.
Dennis: What if you could give them the concept of being on the offensive as they go to school / as they go to college? Instead of losing their faith—as they graduate from high school and never darkening the doors of a church—instead they’re on the offensive, not even thinking of losing their faith because they have a reason for why they believe. They’ve been trained by you helping open the Book and address some of the issues that we’re facing today that are thorny—thorny—issues.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, August 23rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Are you winsomely engaging the culture around you, being salt and light in this world, and are you training your kids to do the same? We’ll explore that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. You’re aware of the fact that some people / some married couples aren’t fully engaged around God’s assignment for them because they’re not sure what God’s agenda is or what their part to play in it is.
Dennis: I think a lot of couples, Bob, never get around to asking the question: “Why are we here? What’s our mission as a couple?” They may say, “You know, I’ve never been to seminary / I’ve not been trained by some of the great Bible teachers / Bible schools in America—so what do I have to say?” The answer is: “If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and you’re in the process of being discipled, you have stuff you can share with others at some level and impact them.” It may be a youth group.
You may start kind of like I did—
—I picked a group that I was well ahead of. I taught a sixth-grade Sunday school class. [Laughter] I taught it for 11 years, not realizing that they were educating me and preparing me, as a parent, to know how to direct our children as they moved into adolescence. You have no way of knowing how God wants to use you, long-haul, with the gifts and abilities He’s given to you.
Bob: You recently spoke to a whole group of couples. We had spent time with them, over the course of a week, encouraging them to strengthen their own marriage relationship / to forgive one another where there’d been offenses—really trying to build into what their marriage can and ought to be. You decided, after all of that pouring into them, it was time to light a fuse and let them loose; right?
Dennis: Jesus Christ did not go to the cross to turn families into holy huddles / into little Christian groups that sing Kumbaya around a fire. He put us here to build some fires, and to make a difference, and to do good in the culture. I don’t know what that is for you, but you need to be grappling with it—both as a man or a woman—but certainly as a couple as well.
I just want to say one thing, Bob, to a group of people that make this broadcast possible every day, here on FamilyLife Today—Legacy Partners who give / donors who give—thank you for standing with us. We’re short in terms of the number of donors we need to keep FamilyLife Today coming on strong on this station and hundreds of other stations, here in America, and hundreds of others around the world.
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Just pray, “Lord, would You want us, as a couple—or me, as a single person—to help this ministry stand strong in a culture of confusion?” I need your help right now. The last seven months have been slower than we anticipated, and we need to pick up some steam here as we finish the month of August and head into the new school year.
Bob: You can make a donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation over the phone. Again, we appreciate those of you who have been standing with us this year. If you’ve never made a donation to FamilyLife Today, we’d love to hear from you. FamilyLifeToday.com is the website where you can make an online donation, or call 1-800-FL-TODAY.
Alright; here’s Part Two of Dennis Rainey’s challenge to married couples to be a part of God’s agenda for planet earth.
Dennis: So, what if you’re a little unclear about your mission?
Well, I have some tips for you. Just really quick, kind of in Gatling gun fashion, let me just give you some thoughts—that if you don’t know what your mission is—perhaps this might be of help.
First of all, really capturing your mission begins with surrender. You’ve heard every one of us, as speakers, speak about surrendering to Jesus Christ. It’s coming before the King and going: “You know what? I’m Yours. Tell me what You want me to do. Tell me where you want me to go. I will obey.”
Second thing, read what’s on the King’s heart—read the Book [the Bible]! This is God’s heart between two covers. This tells us what’s important here—this tells us what is valuable / what’s eternal.
Then Ephesians 2:10—know this—that He created you for good works: Ephesians 2 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
When it says, “We are His workmanship,” it means we are His work of art. God has designed a unique package—in you, as a man / you, as a woman, and together, as a couple—that He wants to use on this planet. He has a plan for you.
“Know that God is already at work within you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” I love that passage [Philippians 2:13] because it says, “God is at work within you”—both—“to will”— that’s to create the desire—“and to work”—that’s to create the opportunity. You want to know how to determine what God’s will is? Think about what you’re passionate about. Think about what causes you to pound the table and say, “Somebody has to do something about this!” And then, what are the opportunities to invest your life? There are plenty of assignments out there waiting. Ask Him to show you your unique assignment. Pray: “What does the King want you to do today?”
I knew a woman before she died—three days before she died / close to the age of 90—who was asking those who were caring for her, “What do you think God wants me to do today?” That was the way she lived her entire adult life.
Next point—walk by faith. It’s impossible to please God without faith. I don’t care where you are / what season of life you are in—and you’re going to go through some changing seasons that are going to demand you to apply fresh faith to circumstances you may not understand—but I have to tell you—and I’m living by faith just like you—step out and trust Him. Take the steps / be obedient. You don’t know what’s in it—walk by faith. It’s impossible to please God without faith.
And then—guys—put a star by this one; would you? Men, as the seasons of life change, help your wife maximize her life, gifts, and vision.
Barbara and I got away for a four-day planning session. We were going to take the first two days and plan her stuff and the second two days and plan my stuff. The rest of the story is—we never got to my stuff. [Laughter] We took all four days and planned hers. The delightful thing about those days of planning is—God birthed something fantastic. My wife’s a theologian / she’s an artist. She believes in beautiful things / she believes in truth. And so she took some things that are beautiful and created them for homes so that homes could celebrate the major holidays and do it in a way that helps you pass on the truth to kids, going forward.
That really leads us to the next point—point three—Since you are an ambassador, make your home an embassy. The thing you need to do is—you need to do three things. Make your embassy a safe place—
—a safe place for your family and for others. You knew I would say this: “Keep your covenant.” Don’t use the d-word [divorce]. Replace the d-word with the c-word—commitment / covenant-keeping love—that’s what builds a fence around the embassy. Kids desperately need the embassy to be surrounded by a mom and a dad who make the place safe. Make your home an embassy! Protect the inhabitants from the outside forces of evil, and kids today—they desperately need to be protected. Trust me!
Then, next, train your children to be ambassadors.
What if you could give them the concept of being on the offensive, as they go to school / as they go to college? Instead of losing their faith—as they graduate from high school and never darkening the doors of a church—instead they’re on the offensive, not even thinking of losing their faith because they have a reason for why they believe. They’ve been trained by you helping open the Book and address some of the issues that we’re facing today that are thorny—thorny—issues.
Finally, use your embassy as an outpost and base camp for reaching your community and your world. That’s really why I gave this message. I’ve already heard a bunch of you, who are already doing this. I’m just hoping and praying that this will ignite a fire and cause you to start burning, thinking about how you can make an impact in some issue that has been irritating your soul for years.
So, as a couple, you’re going to figure out how your marriage will outlast your kids / how your marriage will outlast your career because you will be on a divine mission so infectious / so important that you will not be able to lay it aside.
I can tell you—from having been married for 43 years to Barbara—we faced a lot of challenges, just like you have. We’re not done because this little dash between two dates—that will someday be carved on a tombstone—has to represent something other than just what I want to do or we find easiest to do. So what’s your mission? What’s your mission as a couple? Would you like to be commissioned this evening?
Now, I don’t have the authority to commission you an ambassador; but I know the One who does. I know where He does it in the Book. In a minute, I’ll read that to you. If you’d like to be commissioned, I’m going to ask you to stand. Some of you are already commissioned / you’re already in it. You just may want to re-up: “We’re in. We’re all in.”
But no one should feel any pressure to stand. In fact, I’d respect you more, if you didn’t want to stand, for sitting there. It’s kind of like, “Okay; may God meet you where you are.”
I want to tell you a story before I commission those who’d like to be commissioned. In 1992, the nation of Fiji had the first ambassador it had had in 105 years come to America. There had been a military coup in 1887—where all diplomatic relations were broken and economic relationships were broken with America—by America with Fiji. But in 1992, the only ambassador that I know came to America to become the first ambassador from Fiji. He served from 1992 to 1997. One of the first things he did was get Fiji water in America.
That’s how that happened—pretty cool; huh?
But in 1992, Pita Nacuva turned on his radio as he was driving to work. He heard a radio show called FamilyLife Today. Can you imagine an ambassador from Fiji listening to a radio program by some guys in Arkansas? Well, he kept listening as he would drive back and forth from the embassy to his home, and back and forth. In 1996, he heard us talk about the Weekend to Remember®. He decided that he and Mary would to attend the Weekend to Remember in Washington, DC—only one problem—it was sold out. He called Little Rock to pull some political strings so he could attend, and we got him in. [Laughter]
As a result of that conference, they got a vision for how they could impact families in Fiji because they were breaking down there too.
So in May of that same year, in 1996, they came to an international training conference in Little Rock and graduated, and went back a year later to Fiji, and became the leaders of Family One, which for all practical purposes is FamilyLife in Fiji. Now, nearly 20 years later, they’ve trained over 7,000 people—300 islands—they’ve impacted the South Pacific.
Pita, interestingly, over those years, continued his political career, not being fulltime in FamilyLife. He went on from ambassador to become the Minister of Health, then the Minister of Tourism, and finally he was elected to the second highest office in the Fijian government. He became the Speaker of the House of Parliament, the second in command to follow the President should he die.
In 2006, he was elected Speaker. A couple years later, there was a military coup. An armed military officer came into Pita’s office, as the Speaker of the House of Parliament, and said: “Your honor, you need to get in your car and you need to leave this place. You are no longer the Speaker.” Pita said, “No. I’m not going anywhere.” They argued for a bit. Finally, the officer said, “Mr. Nacuva, you need to leave.” So Pita went—got in his car / drove back home. From that point on until now, has been fulltime as an ambassador for Jesus Christ and for families.
Now, I tell that to you because God has His ways of getting you where He wants to get you. What does He want you to do? What is He up to?
Would you like to be commissioned? Would you bow your heads and close your eyes? This is not for anybody but you two as a couple. Guys, if you want to turn your marriage into an embassy and become a couple of ambassadors, just grab your wife’s hand, say, “Sweetheart, let’s stand up.”
Some of you may need to confirm your citizenship. You may have come here, not being sure if you’re a Christian / if you have a relationship with Christ. Don’t miss an opportunity to settle it with God.
Let me read this over you and then pray for you. These are the words of Jesus: “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 and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Heavenly Father, You know every story in this room. Nothing surprises You. You know those who are standing / their drama and those who are seated and their drama. Thank You for their honesty. May You meet them with grace, and mercy, and love where they are.
And now for these who are standing, I pray, Father, that You would grant favor to them, and that You would use them, and that we would celebrate for all eternity the victories / the impact that each of these have had for Your purposes and Your glory.
Thank You for the privilege of being used by You in Your global work—what an adventure / what an honor. In Christ’s name we pray; Amen.
Bob: Amen. We’ve been listening to Part Two of a message from Dennis Rainey today on our assignment to be ambassadors / to make our home an embassy. And I know, Dennis, there are some who listen to a charge like this and they think: “I don’t think we’re in good enough shape, as a couple, to be about trying to help others. I mean, we have issues in our marriage.”
Dennis: [Laughter] So do we / so do you. [Laughter] I mean, here’s the thing—if you wait till you’re perfect to get in the game, you’re going to be waiting until heaven. So you know—jump in the game, at some level. Maybe you assist someone else who has a vital ministry going, but find your niche as an individual and, hopefully, as a couple—something that will help you build into other people’s lives that will outlast your career / your children—that will give you a purpose and a cause to get you out of the bed as you move out of the career someday. You’re looking at having some time on your hands to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Bob: Well, I think that’s the other thing—there are some folks who would say: “We would love to do this, but our schedule is crazy. I mean, the kids are doing this, and every night it seems like there’s something going on. I wish we could, but we just don’t have time for this.”
Dennis: And I would say, Bob—for some people, in the season they’re in right now, they’re where they’re supposed to be; but even in that season, where you may not be able to have the outreach you would like to have, look around. Keep your head up. I know, when we were raising six kids, we had four teenagers at one time. We found a way to reach out to our kids’ junior high and high school and start a ministry that, interestingly enough, 25 years later, is still going on—it’s still happening.
The needs—of individuals, of marriages, of families—are not going to go away.
Find a way to provide help / provide hope. What FamilyLife wants to do is—we want to be here. We want to be able to stand with you, when you do get ready to make an impact, and want to provide resources, tools, and a broadcast to cheer you on into the future.
Bob: Yes; make sure the things that you are giving your time and effort to are the right things / are the priority things. Once you’ve determined that that’s the case, then press forward with what God’s called you to.
Dennis: Not every need is the call.
Dennis: You can run yourself ragged in this culture; but I’d say pull back to the big picture and ask yourself the question: “What do I pound the table about? What are we passionate about? What do we find ourselves getting kind of riled up about?” Find a way to take your strengths, and your abilities, and your passion and use it winsomely, with the love of Christ, for the glory of God and for the good of people.
Bob: Well, and I think this is something that would be good for listeners to chew on and to talk about: “What does it look like to make our home an embassy?” In fact, we have, online at FamilyLifeToday.com, a series of four—I don’t want to call them family nights because I don’t want them to sound bigger than they are—they’re really just guided discussions for the dinner table or for the car ride home / just some questions that you can talk about together, as a family, with your kids about what it means to be an ambassador / what it means to make your home an embassy.
You can download a free e-book that will give you these conversations to have together, as a family, when you go to our website, which is FamilyLifeToday.com. It’s all free—go to FamilyLifeToday.com and download “The Embassy of the King” booklet. It’s available online.
And while you’re there, check out the resources that Barbara has created to remind yourself and to declare to others that your home is, in fact, an embassy. There’s an “Embassy of the King” plaque, an “Embassy of the King” banner, there’s a canvas, there’s a full devotional booklet that’s available.
Order these resources from us online at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Again, the website, FamilyLifeToday.com; and the toll-free number is 1-800-FL-TODAY.
I want to take just a minute here and say, “Ya man!” and “Happy anniversary!” to Kwame and Jennifer Selver, who live in Nassau—that’s why I said, “Ya man!”—because they live in the Bahamas. Today, the Selvers are celebrating their eighth wedding anniversary. They have attended our Weekend to Remember marriage getaway. We just wanted to say, “Happy anniversary!” to the Selvers on eight years together.
We think every anniversary ought to be celebrated. We are The Proud Sponsor of Anniversaries™. Our goal at FamilyLife is for you to celebrate more and better anniversaries every year as the two of you grow closer to one another and closer to Christ in your relationships—
—that’s what FamilyLife Today is all about.
We appreciate those of you who support this ministry and help make all that we do happen. Dennis mentioned earlier that this year we’ve had a little fall-off in the number of FamilyLife Today listeners, who have made a donation. We wanted to come to those of you, who are regular listeners, and ask you, “Would you consider, before the end of the month, helping us get caught up with where we’d like to be this year?—help us with a donation of any amount to support this ministry?” We appreciate whatever you’re able to do. You can do that online at FamilyLifeToday.com; you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate; or you can mail your donation to us at FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.
By the way, if your donation is $100 or more, you’re welcome to request a set of three Art of Marriage® Connect Bible studies designed for small group use; or husbands and wives can use these individually. These Bible studies on marriage are our thank-you gift in appreciation for your generous support; and we want to say, “Thank you,” again.
We hope you can tune in tomorrow. Barbara Rainey’s going to be here. We’re going to continue our conversation about how our homes can be an outpost and how we can be ambassadors for Christ in our culture. Hope you can tune in for that.
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. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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