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Handing Over the Baton

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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May 28, 2021 2:00 am

Handing Over the Baton

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 28, 2021 2:00 am

On the final day of Bob Lepine's farewell week, he shares the last of his most memorable interviews on FamilyLife Today and passes the baton to his dear friends and co-hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson.

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And welcome to Family Life Today. Thanks for joining us. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine.

You can find us online at You know, I've probably said something like that about 7,000 times. I was doing the math on that, and so that's the last one. And you're laughing about it. I'm crying.

Bob's laughing. We are back to where we started this week, to everything there's a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. And this is that time. This is the last time I'll be on Family Life Today as a co-host with you guys. You guys will take it from here, and you'll do great. But we've been spending time this week just reflecting on some of the big lessons I've learned in 28 years of being the co-host on Family Life Today, first with Dennis Rainey and then with the two of you over the last couple of years. So do we need to learn to say welcome to Family Life Today? You can start however you want. You guys just keep talking.

I'm going to blow my nose. Ann's over here crying. Well, I mean, I don't want to trivialize this because I know with listeners, you build a relationship through the years, and I've met people who have graciously said the program has made a difference in their lives. God has used it in their lives. It's been a real privilege to get to do what I've gotten to do over the last 28 years. Bob, you have marked all of us.

Yeah, and you're really good at what you do. Your faithfulness to Jesus just pours out of you. Your desire and love for God's word and theology and the family have shifted a generation.

Thank you. It has been a joy, and what's been good for me has been all of the people who poured into me over the years, the past 28 years, guests we've had on Family Life Today, and we've talked this week about marriage principles I've learned, parenting principles I've learned, the differences between men and women, things I've learned from Dennis Rainey, and now I'm just going to kind of catch up today with a mixed bag of some of those things. I've quoted these things to people over and over again since I heard them the first time on a Family Life Today program. Back in the first year we were on Family Life Today, we did an interview with our friend Gary Rosberg. Gary and Barb were speaking at the weekend to remember marriage getaways with us. Gary had just written a book about resolving conflict, where his whole idea was you've got to close the loop.

When there's an open loop, you've got to close the loop. You remember this. Oh yeah, I remember that. And what came up in that conversation was the priority of pursuing peace when there is conflict. And I would tend to be a conflict avoider, and talking with Gary that day, he brought Romans 12-18, a verse that I don't know that I'd read or I didn't remember.

He brought it to the forefront. It's a verse that says, If possible, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. And I thought, that's a principle I need to learn. So here's our conversation with Gary from back in 1993. You know, Paul put one sentence in Scripture that I grab onto, and that sentence says, As far as it depends upon you, whenever possible.

I mean, he gives us two caveats there. As much as it depends upon you, whenever possible, be at peace with everyone. And for some of the listeners, they may be sitting back in abusive situations, in situations where another person doesn't want to move towards restoration, and we cannot control that other person. But what we can do is choose, in our own relationship with Christ, to receive God's forgiveness, and then secondly, to forgive ourselves, and then do what we can, as much as we can, to step up to the plate to try to open up the restoration of the relationship with the other person. Just a quick moment with Gary Rosberg, but it was so powerful for me, that the priority of pursuing peace and the necessity of forgiveness and reconciliation in relationships, not just in marriage, and it does start in marriage, but all relationships, extended family relationships, where there's been a fractured relationship, the onus is on us. If there's a fractured relationship, the onus is, Have I done everything I can to pursue peace?

And sometimes it's not possible. Yeah, I was going to say, sometimes it doesn't work out on their side, but if you can sit before God and say, I've done everything I can do, then you can live at peace. You can actually go to sleep and be in peace.

Those two caveats, if possible, as much as it depends on you. And that's your responsibility. And if you've done that, like you said, you can be at peace. We had another early conversation with Jim Ellef, who had written a short book on childhood conversion, kids making an early profession of faith in Christ. What should we think about that when your child at age four says, I want to ask Jesus into my heart, and you pray a prayer with them?

Do you then go, Okay, this is settled in heaven? Or how do you think about that? I remember in the conversation with Jim Ellef thinking, the same child who says, I want to ask Jesus into my heart, also thinks, And when I grow up, I want to be a dinosaur. You know, they're five years old.

So they don't have a full concept. At the same time, a child can genuinely believe at an early age. And so I ask him in the interview, what should we do as parents if our child makes an early profession? How do we respond to that?

And here's how that conversation went. The idea of conversion, of course, means to change or to turn. That's literally what the word means. The Bible teaches that conversion is not really just a nice option to make better people to live with, but conversion is an absolute necessity. Without conversion, people are damned. That's a strong word, but that's literally what the Bible says.

There is such a thing as the wrath of God. And the Bible says that God leaves a person in his own sin and then to an eventual hell who will not be converted, who will not be, another biblical word, justified before God. Within this word, then, is there repentance?

Yes, I think a couple of words help us understand the idea of conversion. The word repentance would be one on the negative side against sin. The word faith or believing in the Lord would be the other. Often these words in the Scripture are found together.

Sometimes one word is used and the other is assumed, but they represent a turning from and a turning to the Lord, turning from sin and a lifestyle that we've been living. And it is moral. Repentance is moral. It's turning away from real sin in our lives.

And then turning to Christ by trusting our lives to Jesus Christ, the only one who paid the adequate price in our place for us. And a child can do that? A child can be converted, Dennis, I believe that.

I don't have any questions about that. But in the history of Christendom, it was always believed that children could be converted, but it was not always accepted that we could know if children are converted until a later age when their faith was tested so that they could see if what they had was genuine. Now that's an interesting distinction that you make there between a child who professes to be following Christ and then some validation of that later on, because I think we've all heard that if a child, or if anyone for that matter, makes a profession of faith, we are to assume that God has done a work in that person's life.

Well, our assumption is certainly not always correct because the evidence, I think, is in the lives that we see. Here's the child that comes up. He's seven, eight, nine years of age. He makes some profession of faith. He prays a prayer that, by the way, we don't find in the Bible. And you're speaking there of the repenter's prayer or the prayer of the child who is crying out to Christ to save him? Yes, it's often called the sinner's prayer. We carefully word out a prayer in our booklets, this, that, and the other, that is common among evangelicalism, but you don't find anything really like that in the Bible. The Bible says for the person to repent and believe.

Often that took place during the hearing of the Word or while a man or a child or a man was alone. This is the essence of our response to the Gospel. We have a problem with focusing on a prayer because we put more faith in the fact that we prayed a prayer, a carefully worded prayer, than we do in Jesus Christ.

God doesn't do this in the Bible. He puts the emphasis on Christ, our trust in Christ. So as a parent, should I be hoping for, leading my child in praying the kind of prayer that we've all been taught we should teach a child to pray? Well, I think we can improve the way we communicate with God by being a little more biblical and talking about repentance and faith.

That's one thing. But I think that we should, in fact, encourage our children to pray and to talk to God about this repentance and faith. They might deal with that many times before they know if they've actually been converted. You're actually talking about prayer being the expression of a heart attitude. Yes. And that sometimes we get into a rut of thinking that a prayer expresses a heart attitude that isn't there. Yes. The child really isn't repenting and believing that the child is merely reading a prayer or saying a prayer because Mommy or Daddy or Grandma or Grandpa want him or her to say a prayer.

That's right. We've formularized this idea of Christianity into a prayer. If we can say this prayer, then it's like putting money in a vending machine and God has to give us eternal life. But I contend that there are many, many millions of people who prayed a perfectly worded prayer that they found written someplace or been given to them by somebody else but don't know Christ at all and are on the way to hell. Unfortunately, the emphasis, the wrong emphasis on that issue has deceived many. Well, how was that, huh?

Isn't that interesting? I'm just thinking of all the conversations of parents that I've had come up to me when their child maybe has turned and they're rebelling but they feel very much assured because they'll say, but my son prayed a prayer when he was three. And I'll ask the question, are you seeing fruit of that prayer? And I think as parents, we're desperate for hope. And I want to make sure parents, as they hear this, I want to make sure they understand anything your child does that's positive spiritually, that's moving in the right direction, affirm that, cheer that on, celebrate that.

Absolutely. But keep looking for evidence of conversion, evidence of change, not perfection, not that your child is never going to sin again. Of course he's going to sin again, you do. But keep looking for there to be evidence of a living, active relationship with Jesus. And in those times when your child sins and you go, I wonder if he's really saved or not, share the gospel with your child. And in those times when you sin, share the gospel with yourself.

We keep coming back to the gospel and we need to keep believing the gospel over and over again. Okay, here's a great story. We did an interview with Dr. Robertson McQuilken, who was the president of Columbia Bible College and Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. And in 1992, he stepped down from that role to go home and take care of his wife Muriel, who had Alzheimer's disease. And I remember the speech he made when he stepped down.

He said, it's not that I have to, it's that I get to. She's made my life possible, I get to care for her, it's a delight to care for her. And it was such a powerful picture of covenant love. And he came and we talked about that decision and about caring for Muriel and about his life. She was still alive at this point. But he told a story about, back before she had started showing signs of Alzheimer's, a trip they were on and a conversation they had, and he was trying to explain to her why she was just not thinking correctly. Here's how the conversation went.

I think you're referring to the time we were in the evening, in bed, discussing some earth-shaking theme, which I do not remember. And I was just demolishing her arguments with superb logic. Are you saying you were arguing with her?

Uh-huh, yeah, discussing. But if I ever do seem to be prevailing in a situation like that, then I start feeling bad about it. But she didn't wait for any sympathy or pity.

She just reared up on one elbow and flashed those green eyes at me, and she said, well, let me tell you something. Logic's not everything, and feeling's not nothing. And I heard that, and I thought, how many times have I tried to logically explain to my wife why what she's feeling just does not make sense? And I've been rebuked by that statement many times. Even today, I had a situation where I was reading something, and I'm going, this does not make sense. But it was an emotional plea, and logic is not everything, and feelings aren't nothing. We've heard you quote that several times, Bob, and it's true.

Dave, did you hear that? Am I supposed to feel something right now? I mean, obviously, I don't know if it could be said better. I mean, it's not even proper English, and you'll never forget it because it's so true. And when you're in the middle of a communication or in a conflict, that's a truth you've got to lean into.

It's true, like what she's feeling or what he's feeling matters. What our teenagers are feeling, yeah, it's just so good. So many times, stories like that from guests on Family Life Today, God's used them in my life to say, you need this. This is for you. I sent this person here, whether the listener needs to hear it or not, you needed to hear it. There was another time like that when Pastor Tommy Nelson, you know Tommy, Tommy's pastor at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas. He's been a faithful servant of God in that location for decades, and Tommy had been getting ready to preach through the Book of Romans at his church. They were going to videotape it, put out the video series.

This was a big deal. He said, if I can do this, I can die a happy man. So he'd been burning the candle at both ends to get this ready, and his wife came in one day to talk to him, and he was unresponsive. He was awake and functioning, but he just could not respond to her. Took him to the hospital. They thought maybe a stroke.

The doctors checked him out, said he's fine. It was only later that a doctor said, you're depressed. He goes, I'm not depressed. I love what I do. And the doctor said, no, you're depressed because you have not been resting the way you should.

Here's how he tells the story. I struggled with elation more than depression. I just loved what I was doing. But I peered back in from a distance, and I go, how could you do it all? How did you keep the pace up? How did you keep the pace up? I did it because I loved it, and I would run four miles a day, lift weights every day, plus everything else I did, just out of pure love.

I loved what I was doing. How many hours a night did you sleep? I would go, I'd go to bed. I'd crash at about 10, 10, 30, and then I was always up at five, never went to sleep unless five, usually get up about four, because I was excited about that day because at six, I got to handle the Word with 40 top guys. And so at six, I would take off and teach until seven. Then I would usually go and answer email. Then I would go work out.

And then I'd come back and usually take a nap in the afternoon and then get ready for a weekend conference and head off on a Friday, hit do three times Friday night, three times Saturday morning, come back four times on Sunday on preaching, get up and go 6 a.m. And I loved it just because, you know, just the idea of the gospel being expended for the gospel. Oh, yeah. And that's what I'm trying to, am I hearing you right? Because I'm hearing you say, this came on me, but I'm also hearing you say, I brought this on me.

Yeah. I can look in retrospect and see three years before, it was continual putting myself in unrelenting pushing without any rest. That's why I did it.

And I could see it happening over about three years, but it did hit me literally in a moment. My body said, that's all. In that process of kind of going for the stress, going after this stuff, did you let any of your spiritual disciplines slide? No, reading the Bible was my love, my joy.

Beyond just the vocational side. Yeah, and vocationally, I did everything that I should have done. I was reading my Bible and loving what I was doing. But it doesn't sound like there were a lot of Sabbaths in your life.

Oh, no, there were no Sabbaths. I'm an effort guy, and I love being stretched. The old Vince Lombardi deal of life being lying exhausted in victory on the field of battle, I love it.

I love being pushed like that. And Tommy, forgive me, because I don't want to simplify or quickly spiritualize, but there is a message that you've just sent a lot of people. There is a reason for Sabbath rest. And we do need to embrace that aspect of God's Word.

And quite honestly, I may not be a draft horse like you, but I'm married to a wife. She communicated to me over and over and over again about Sabbath rest, setting a day apart, getting an island in the midst of the activity, in the midst of the pace of life. And we didn't do it perfectly, but there's a great lesson for all of us.

Regardless of your lifestyle, you need to honor what God told us to honor in the Ten Commandments, setting apart a day and honoring Him. Boy, I remember I needed to hear that that day, because my tendency is going to be just keep going and keep going fast. And then I played it for you today. Oh, did you play that for us on purpose? For the two of you.

Yes. Because you guys lean into activity and stay busy and all of that. Here's a cautionary tale from one of our brothers who's gone before us. It says, carve out the time, get the rest, refresh your body and soul, and don't keep going, going, going. That's a good word. Do you listen to me, Brother Dave? I'm trying.

Okay. But I've got a hundred things running in my mind. No, when I heard Tommy say that he was just unresponsive, that he just stopped, I thought, I wonder why my body hasn't done that yet, because I've run fast. I am still running fast, and in some ways I think COVID forced us all to go. To slow a little bit. I need to slow this down. Yeah.

So that's a good word. Well, it was convicting to me because I never sit. I always go, and not only is there work, but there's kids and there's grandkids, and I'm always trying to meet everyone's needs. And actually, before we came to record, I remember thinking, I am not feeling good at all this week. I don't think I've had anything to drink today.

That's what I thought one day. You know, of just taking care of our bodies and our spirit. That's really important. And rest. God said you need rest. That Sabbath is huge.

It is huge. And you need it too, Bob, as you go on to your next endeavor. I'm with you. You're a doer and a goer. One other thing Tommy said, this was in another setting, another conference situation. I heard him say this. I quoted this to single people over and over again.

I have to. He said this is your job if you're a single person. Listen to what he says. One of the great words I ever heard on marriage, whenever you pick a mate, here's the way you do it. You run as fast as you can for Jesus Christ.

Commit your life to Him, love Him, sell out to Him, devoted to Him, and you run as fast as you can. And you look on your right and left and see who's running the same speed. And you just wave at them. And if they stay up with you, after a while, you say, come on over.

And you run together. And what I wanted to do was win people to Christ. What my wife wanted to do was win people to Christ. She wanted to spend her life in the sharing of the gospel. I wanted to do it in the sharing of the gospel. She wanted to bring kids to the Lord. I wanted to have children that loved the Lord. She wanted a Christian home.

I wanted that. And we just said, heck, let's do it together. And we did it together. That's the way you get married. You run as hard and as fast toward Jesus. And if you see somebody running in the same direction at the same speed, take a second look. Say, come on over.

You just wave at them. I love that. What a classic. We've used that so many times. But it's because it's so good.

It is so good. And then on the subject of singleness, we had a conversation with Elizabeth Elliot. And I've never forgotten this. She was talking about the gift of singleness. And she said every single person wants to know, gee, do I have the gift of singleness? And here's how she explained it.

This was so good. When I have a chance to talk to singles, especially the older ones that are beginning to despair, I say, number one, do not put your life on hold. You only have today. It is this present moment in which God wants to be glorified and you are single this present moment. Well, women will often say to me, I just know that I don't have the gift of singleness. You know, I just know I'm supposed to be married. I'm so maternal. I just feel that God wants to give me a husband and family and all this. And I say to them, well, you know, today's Saturday. Are you single?

Yes. Well, then you have the gift of singleness on this particular Saturday. Maybe next Thursday, God is going to bring along the dream man of your life.

Maybe he's not. But you must learn to glorify God in the situation where God has assigned you. And I go back to Psalm 16 5.

You have assigned me my portion. Isn't that genius? Classic. Do you have the gift of singleness? If you are single, you have the gift of singleness. Today. She said a lot of people will say, but I want to know if I have it like forever. And she said, I say to them, I don't know. Nobody knows whether you have it forever.

What we know is you have it today. It's really tied to another principle she shared that I've never forgotten. When her first husband, Jim Elliott was martyred in 1956, she's a new mom living in Quito, Ecuador. Her husband has died. I said, how weren't you overwhelmed by what am I going to do? How do I survive this? I've got a baby. My husband's dead.

I'm in South America. She said, I learned a very important principle and that is do the next thing. Don't be overwhelmed by what's next week going to look like.

Do the next thing. That's what Jesus said when he said, tomorrow has enough troubles of its own. Just be focused on today.

Corey Ten Boom used to have that same philosophy. God will give you today what you need. He won't give it to you today what you need tomorrow. He'll give you today what you need.

And it's a great one. Well, Bob, let me ask you this, because I'm sure listeners are wondering, what's the next thing for Bob LaPie? So the next thing for me is to get a little rest. I mean, I'm staying connected to family life, connected to the work of this program. And I'm going to be more focused and more intentional with our local church, where I have been pastoring now for 13 years. There's an assignment there for Marianne and me, and we're going to dive in and embrace that assignment as well.

And a little more time with kids and grandkids. We're looking forward to that. So we're excited about this chapter and where we're headed and where God has us. But the last 28 years have been a joy. They've been a privilege, and we've tried to sum up this week what have been some of the highlights. I hope listeners, as they have a chance to go back and listen to this and just refresh themselves with these truths that have lived with me now over the last 28 years, I hope that's been helpful for them. And I need to say here, nobody does this alone.

This radio program is not something that I've made happen. There's a team here at Family Life, you know this, a great team. And some of the teammates who have been a part of this team have been at this for more than 25 years.

I mean, you stop and think, we started Family Life today in 1992. We have colleagues here who have been with us since, essentially, the beginning of the program. And so people like Christy Bain, who has been my administrative assistant for all of those 28 years, I mean, this program is as much a labor of her work as it is my work. And Tonda Nations, who is continuing to do the research and the guest interaction, getting things ready for us, she's going to continue with that. She's been with us from the beginning. She's been amazing. And then every day as I've ended the program and said, I want to thank our engineer, Keith Lynch. Keith's been across the glass for a quarter of a century doing this.

It's unusual, you know this, for people to be at something like this that long. And so listeners may know my voice and have heard me say things, but I've been enabled and set up and prepared for what I do, helped along by people like Tonda and Christy and Keith and so many others whose names I could mention. But it's been a privilege and a great ride. And I'm excited about what God has as you guys move forward with this. Well, I don't know what to say besides thank you.

I'm looking over there. I know what to say. Keith loves Jesus. You love Jesus. All those people you mentioned, they love Jesus. They love the listener who often we don't even get to meet.

And we love you. That's kind of what I was going to say. As you listen to a radio or podcast, you always wonder, is it real? What they're talking about, are they living it? Do they love Jesus the way they talk about him?

And does their life reflect the principles that they've been teaching? And Bob, you do, like you are the real deal. And everyone that you mentioned is to like your integrity, your faithfulness, your love for Mary and your wife and your kids.

It spills all over and your love for Jesus is foremost. And I think that's why we all trust you. We trust your voice. We trust your life. And you have blessed us immensely. You've really mentored Dave and I. And we can't thank you enough for your faithfulness to God, to us, to this team and to your family. You're pretty amazing. And we really love you.

Yeah. Well, and you guys know how thrilled I am at what God has in store for you and for the future of this. And I'll be listening. I'll send you emails and say you should ask this question.

Why didn't you ask? I hope so. Sure you will. We will need it. We will. And let me just pray for you guys as we close this. Father, thank you for Dave and Ann for the way you have gifted them for their passion for you, their desire to see others come to know you and live as faithful followers of your son Jesus.

I pray your blessing on them and on this program, on this team as things move forward. Lord, keep your hand on this program. Keep using it in the lives of so many people every day.

We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen. As we wrap things up today, I want to remind you that all of the things we've talked about this week, the 28 principles that we've gone through, these conversations we're making available on a flash drive, along with the original programs from which those ideas came through the years. That flash drive is available to those of you who can make a donation to support the ministry of family life today going forward. Your donation today is going to be matched dollar for dollar.

We're getting down to the wire. This matching gift fund that's been made available to us through the month of May goes away pretty soon. So in order for us to take full advantage of the fund, we need to hear from you today. In addition to the flash drive, we're going to send you a couple of books from Aaron and Jamie Ivey about marriage and those of you who can join us as monthly legacy partners and help support the ministry on an ongoing basis. In addition to the flash drive and the books, we're going to send you a certificate to attend an upcoming weekend to remember marriage getaway either this spring or into the fall as the getaways start up again.

We're excited about that. And your donations over the next 12 months are going to be matched dollar for dollar as long as there's money available in that matching gift fund. So if you can become a legacy partner today or make a one-time donation, go to to donate or call 1-800-358-6329, 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today and extend the reach of family life today through your giving. And thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do. And a final word of thanks here to you as listeners. The time we have spent together over the last 28 years has been meaningful for me. I hope it's been meaningful for you as well.

And I will miss the regular connection with you. Thanks for the kind notes you've sent through the years. Thanks for the suggestions we've gotten from you through the years.

Those have been helpful as well. And I am confident that the best years are ahead for family life today. And with that, we've got to wrap things up for this week. Thanks for joining us. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend.

Hope you have a refreshing weekend. And I hope you can tune in Monday. Dave and Ann are going to talk with Levi and Jenny Lusko. They're going to share about a critical moment in their family's life.

And I won't go into all the details now, but it's a powerful story. Hope you can tune in on Memorial Day for that. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, who has been a great friend and a trusted companion over the years. I also want to thank Bruce Goff, who added some help today, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. Join us back again Monday for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas, a crew ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-12 09:25:07 / 2023-11-12 09:38:45 / 14

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