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Helping Your Child Build a Lifelong Faith

Helping Your Child Build a Lifelong Faith

In a discussion based on their book Resilient, Valerie Bell and Matt Markins equip parents to raise kids who are resilient disciples for Christ who won't give up their faith in the face of cultural pressure. Our guests outline the three 'B's' for developing resilience and discuss the importance of balancing God's truth with His love.
Original Air Date: October 6, 2021

John Fuller: Imagine this scene, uh, there’s a young teenage boy standing by the flagpole of his school, but he’s utterly alone. Hayden thought his friends would join him for a public prayer event, but no one else showed up. Am I alone? Really? Where is everyone? But instead of walking away defeated, Hayden prayed, asking God to use this embarrassing moment to help him reach others for Christ. Well, today on Focus on the Family, we’re going to hear how your son or daughter can become more like a Hayden, a real-life witness for Jesus. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, one of the most challenging issues Christian parents contact us about is discipleship of their own children. Many moms and dads don’t feel qualified to share their faith effectively. I know for Jean and I, that at times was true. Um, just getting their attention when they’re four or five, six years old (laughs)-

John: Hmm.

Jim: … can be a challenge. And maybe you’re afraid of messing up the gospel and leading your child astray, who knows what the, uh, the issues are. Discipleship was never modeled for you growing up. That could be an issue that was certainly Jean and I. We didn’t come from Christian homes. Uh, or you might think the church and Sunday school should be enough to teach your kids that one day a week, right? But it’s not. Today we’re going to address those concerns and challenge you frankly, to take on this responsibility because there is no more effective witness to your children than you, mom and dad. And that’s why Deuteronomy 6, tells us to diligently teach God’s word to our children when we’re at home, when we’re walking along and throughout the day. And the good news is you’re not alone in the process. There are many organizations that can help you move that forward.

John: And we kind of had a privilege to do that, uh, through a number of ways. One way is, uh, bring your Bible to school day, that’s every year in October that, uh, we promote and we anticipate really hundreds of thousands of students from grade school through college age, really celebrating and commemorating, bring your Bible to school day that’s tomorrow, October 7th. And then of course, Jim, we have our livid challenges for families where you can kind of do a deep dive into God’s word and learn to apply principles, kind of walk-through day by day with your kids. Learn more about the livid challenges at our website. The link is at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: And John, we have some great guests today who will help us explore the topic of child discipleship. Uh, they are the leaders of a well-known church-based ministry called Awana, which provides evangelism discipleship to children between the ages of two and 18. That’s quite a (laughs) quite a broad band. Valerie Bell is the CEO and Matt Markins is the president of Awana and together they’ve written a book called Resilient: Child Discipleship and the Fearless Future of the Church. Great title, Valerie, Matt, welcome to Focus.

Valerie Bell: Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Matt Markins: It’s great to be with you.

Jim: Yeah, well, let’s get into it. Going back to the opening story. We share that John shared about Hayden, the boy standing alone at the flagpole. Uh, you identify him as a resilient disciple, uh, for Christ. Uh, define what you mean by resilient in that context.

Valerie: Well, resilient is a quality that allows a person to bend and flex, but not break under culture. And so, uh, a less resilient Christian kid would have walked right out of there. I think I would have walked right out of there-

Jim: Yeah. Would have been tough.

Valerie: … when I was age. That was embarrassing.

Jim: How old was he?

Valerie: Uh, 15, I think-

Jim: Okay. Yeah. That’s tough.

Valerie: … he was at that time.

Jim: Peer pressure.

Valerie: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: Wow!

Valerie: So that picture of this child who is, um, a believer there’s, that’s the discipleship part, but because of so many things that are happening, you, you address parents at the beginning, they are feeling this, uh, mightily, the secularization of our culture and the pool that it has on our kids. So besides discipleship, we’ve added this, uh, culturally aware word, which is resilient, resilient discipleship. And the other interesting part of this that I want to point out is that the bending and flexing indicates that they are engaged in the culture. So they are not protected to the point that they don’t have to deal with these issues.

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: They are out in it. And we are really so interested-

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: … and so passionate about teaching this generation of kids, how to engage the culture better than we ever have done.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, you point to the story of Dr. West Stafford. He’s a friend of mine, a former CEO of, uh, Compassion International and, and what a wonderful person. Um, you know, I’ve heard him speak many times. He’s done chapel here at Focus for the staff, but just that, that sense of humility. And, uh, and he had very difficult, uh, upbringing. Uh, how did his story grab your heart?

Valerie: Well, uh, West is, uh, a gift to the church. Uh, he and I were in college together. We go way back (laughs).

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Valerie: And, uh, so I’ve watched this and wished that I could have given him a different childhood. He was broken in his childhood, uh, in a missionary home for kids, a school where there was a lot of abuse of all different kinds that went on.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Valerie: Uh, but what has been fascinating to watch is right at the place where he was broken, God grew him strong. And so he’s able to minister to children all over the world with an understanding of the difficulties that they face. And so, you know, that redemptive work of God too. And I, and I think your story’s a little bit like that too, Jim-

Jim: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Valerie: Uh, I, I don’t know if all your listeners know this, but I read as a guest on your broadcast about your childhood. That was tough. That was really, really tough. But look how creative God is. Uh, we say, God is in the messes. He’s most creative at the places where we are not able to help ourselves. And, um, so with both you and Wes, you know, God had a plan for you to minister, to kids all over the world basically.

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: Out of your [inaudible].

Jim: And I think in that regard, I mean, that’s one of the more difficult questions I’ll get after I speak. And, you know, people will come up and they’ll ask me, you know, I, I had a childhood, like it was a… but how did you choose to let those things go? I have not been able to do that. It’s a really difficult question.

Valerie: Hmm.

Jim: And, uh, you know, you just have to choose to forgive and, and let go. In fact, you’ve identified three B’s for helping our kids become more resilient in their faith, belong believe and become, uh, share what those B’s are and what they mean.

Matt: Yeah. So the key there is when all three B’s are present, belong, believe, become, a child’s likelihood of becoming and have an identity that’s formed in Christ as much higher. So-

Jim: When you… let me interrupt quickly before you go on with that. Because today I think that’s one of the critical crises in the, in the culture of young people, where do I plant my identity?

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: And we’re seeing it-

Valerie: Yes.

Jim: …. all over the, the place, right? Um, with all of the interest groups that have emerged, but in that context, continue, sorry, but this is critical-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … for your young person, your child, to know what their identity is.

Valerie: And we should get back to that. Let’s not draw that.

Matt: What does every one of our listeners want, when we think about our kids and grandkids, we, we lift our eyes to the future, our hopes and our dreams. We want an adult who’s thriving in their life and in their faith-

Jim: Serving God.

Matt: Absolutely. So these three B’s belong, which is highly relational ministry led by loving, caring adults. That’s not only you as the parent or the grandparent or guardian, but that’s the commu- larger church community or faith. The belief that’s deeply scriptural ministry rooted in the truth of God’s word and the power of the gospel and become that’s highly experiential ministry. That’s getting kids out of a simulation world and getting them into real faith building experiences. So again, the secret sauce there is when all three are present, their likelihood of being an ide- having an identity of a resilient disciples, much higher. So if I’m a parent I’m evaluating, hey, are these happening in the life of my child?

John: Hmm.

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: So, uh, you brought up the word identity, but those three B’s develop identity in Christ. And, uh, listen to this though. This will give you a sense of where our culture is.

Jim: Hmm.

Valerie: Okay. So these are common phrases we hear all the time, love yourself. You be you, uh, my body, my choice. Follow your head, your heart.

Matt: Good vibes tribe.

Valerie: Yeah. Uh, go ahead. You know what I mean.

Matt: (laughs)

Valerie: Believe in yourself. That is the culture of individualism and the rise of me-

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: … me. And so, uh, this is a belief system that does not bow to any previous religion. It does not bow to anything other than the self.

Jim: You know, something that came out just a while back, uh, an article, I think it was titled Fake Christianity.

Matt: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And the premise was just that, that the church has lost its way because it’s more about self-improvement and feeling good about yourself than it is about service and our attitude toward the Lord and toward the world around us. Have you had time to process that, that crisis that we’re seeing in the church?

Valerie: Absolutely. And, uh, I think that we’re a little bit of culture vultures. Uh, we have a 70 plus year ministry that we began to examine very closely. We knew we could not just drift on into the future.

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: And so, you know, that required us to be aware of, uh, not only Awanas culture, but the church culture and the secular culture. So th- this might interest you as well as talk about Christian Smith.

Matt: I was working two days apart.

Valerie: Yeah. This is worth bringing up at this point ’cause I think it really-

Matt: Sure.

Valerie: … fits in here. Moralistic therapeutic deism.

Jim: Right. That was part of the article.

Matt: Yeah.

Valerie: It was? Okay. So he did this survey of a broad scope it’s so it was some church kids, some secular kids. He found, they basically all believed the same thing. And it was this moralistic therapeutic deism. There is, uh, five tenets. God created the world. He cares about the world. The second is that, um, he wants us to be kind to each other and help each other. The third is the main goal of your life is to be happy. The fourth is God will help you if you’re in trouble, but otherwise he probably won’t mess with you too much. And the fifth is that good people go to heaven.

Jim: Yeah. What a thing.

Valerie: Isn’t that fascinating?

Jim: Yeah it is. It is.

Valerie: What do you find fascinating about it?

Jim: Well, I think that the emphasis on being happy.

Matt: Yeah.

Valerie: Yes.

Jim: I mean, because if, if you make that your objective, your circumstances dictate your emotional response to God. Being an orphan kid, that is not a good place to be.

Valerie: Yeah.

Jim: So you’ve got to trust in the Lord, regardless of your circumstances, you need to love the Lord.

Valerie: Yes.

Jim: You need to love the path that he has you on.

Valerie: Yes.

Jim: Regardless of your circumstances. That’s what the scripture teaches.

Valerie: What’s missing anyway.

Matt: Well, so all of that you just described, Valerie is describing a worldview that’s forming an identity around hyper individualization … compare that with the three B’s, which is a philosophy to form the identity of a, of a disciple in Jesus Christ.

Jim: But, you know, let’s bring this to some other data that’s come out where parents are aware of the troubling statistics, where Christian families, a high percentage of young people are walking away from the faith. And I, I would think that partly this is emerging in order to keep some stickiness for the kids.

Valerie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Right. Which I don’t think is the right thing.

Valerie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But, um, you know, it’s an attempt, I believe to help young people not abandon the faith altogether.

Valerie: Yes.

Jim: So you end up with that-

Valerie: So-

Jim: … therapeutic deism.

Valerie: Yes. Uh, you know, and that sounds very, uh, Christian in a way, except there’s no Jesus, there’s no slant-

Jim: Right.

Valerie: … and there’s no need for gro- for God, except when you’re in trouble. There’s not this relationship. It’s such a delight to be someone who follows Christ and he has this, um, enormous, uh, spiritual, uh, life happening inside.

Jim: Well, and you going back to Hayden and the first example we used with the flagpole, and he was the only kid that showed up and, you know, you decided to just keep moving forward and pray. You mentioned your book, that what children need is spine and heart-

Valerie: (laughs)

Jim: … which I love. It sounds more like a football huddle. No guys, we need some spine here. We need some heart.

Valerie: Yeah.

Jim: Describe what you’re describing-

Matt: Well it goes back to that preparation versus protection. Valerie, talk about it.

Valerie: Well, you know, I think having just come through an enormous learning experience in our last election where we did not know how to talk to our culture very well, we just attacked them and we attacked each other as well. Uh, we need to learn how to engage properly. So s- uh, spine says, know what you believe, but go across the bridge of heart when you’re going to talk to somebody about what you believe in. So I’m still trying to learn this because, you know, I want to like go right for the issue. But, um, I, after the Super Bowl, uh, oh, the, you know, when Jennifer-

Jim: It’s two years ago I believe.

Valerie: … two years ago, that that just lit up the testosterone on social media with Jennifer, uh-

John: Right. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

Matt: The Halftime Show.

Valerie: The Halftime Show. And so, anyway, I’m thinking man, somebody should speak into this because there’s a lot, they’ve lost perspective on what that does to women who are watching it and what happens as a result of it. But I didn’t know how to mention it. There was a woman who wrote in, and I want to just read what she wrote ’cause this woman is so smart and she’s so brave and walked right into that mess of testosterone. She said this, “I totally agree these ladies are unbelievably talented. See the heart that she’s putting out there, she’s reeling this bridge to them. And due to their success, they have a ton of influence. I really enjoy listening to their music and their movies, et cetera. There is no doubt their performances last night turned up the Super Bowl testosterone. We have to be aware. Now, here, she’s coming with the spine and she’s going to come with more than her opinion, all the time of the effects on our society. And then she does the stats. One in five women are survivors of rape. 70% of sexual assault happens to women before the age of 17. A child is abducted, every 40 seconds. One in four girls and one in six boys are victims of sexual abuse. One in three women experience domestic violence. When the facts are made aware, you can’t help, but wonder why we continue to impose this kind of entertainment on people on our society.”

Jim: Hmm.

Valerie: She got no pushback.

Jim: Hmm.

John: Well, we’re talking today with Valerie Bell and Matt Markins about their book, Resilient: Child Discipleship and the Fearless Future of the Church. I hope you’re finding hope and encouragement in the conversation. And I trust you’ll look for a copy of this book at our website. The link is at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Matt, I want to go back to the three B’s and you did a good job defining them, but they’re really the, the kernel of the takeaway.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: And, you know, hopefully people are gonna want to get a copy of the book to dig deeper. We can’t cover it all, but it got our attention here at Focus. So that idea of belonging, the first B, uh, which in some ways is having at least one loving adult in your life. I mean, for me, that was true. It was a football coach.

Matt: Yup.

Valerie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And he made all the difference. He called me out as a man. He pressed me to do better. And he took me to church and took me to a Chri- fellowship of Christian athletes camp, where I gave my life to the Lord. There was that one person in my life who cared.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: Speak to it.

Matt: Well, that- that’s, I have a similar story. One of my earliest memories is the day that my dad walked out. My dad left the house. I’m sitting in my bedroom floor as a, probably a preschool age kid. And I’m looking at my door. The door was left open. My dad’s carrying cardboard boxes out. He’s carrying coat hangers out. But the hero of the day is my brother, older brother, five years older than me is sitting to my left and he’s reading the, uh, he’s reading a children’s books. He’s putting in front of my face, trying to distract me. You know? (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: So, uh, that was just such-

Jim: Was he eight, nine?

Matt: Oh, he was eight. He was about eight years old.

Jim: Yeah. Wow!

Matt: He was sticking these books in front of my face is doing anything he can to try to shield me. Right? Well, that’s, that was a defining moment clearly in our family’s history. But fast forward to my childhood, one of my earliest memories, not probably not long from that’s being at a church where a man and a woman in a children’s ministry room and the church leading me to Christ fast forward, a few more years, I’m sitting in children’s ministry. We like to laugh about flannel graph, but I-

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: It worked.

Jim: In the ’80s.

Matt: In the 80’s that’s how I learned the Bible. That’s how I learned about the life of, and resurrection of Jesus. And then fast forward to my teenage years, I’ve got a pastor who’s meeting me in the park. He’s saying, “Bring your Bible. We’re breaking open the scriptures.” He’s taken me out for ice cream. We’re going to softball games. His wife is writing me notes and where I thought my name was child support, divorce, and custody. She gave me the name of mercy, encouragement, leadership.

Jim: Hmm.

Matt: She, she helped me to see these other parts of the world and my world and my future. And then there was a deacon and the youth pastor. So what’s the story here. The story is, but there was a church. The church stepped in. My, now my mom and my stepdad did the awesome thing of getting me to church, right? They, they were so faithful. They were generous people, but they gave me access to a broader community. So when we say highly relational ministry, this is what we’re talking about.

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: The Harvard Center for the Developing Child, uh, talks about this whole idea of resiliency. Uh, doctors say that trauma is really suffering alone-

Jim: Hmm.

Valerie: Yeah.

Matt: … but the Harvard study shows that one, one loving, caring adult has active presence in the life of that child to walk alongside them through that trauma, they have a much higher success rate to thrive in their life, into their future.

Jim: Yeah. And that might be the answer to that earlier question. How did you choose the right emotional direction?

Matt: Hmm. Yeah.

Jim: It might be simply that there were people in my life and your life-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … obviously that helped us point in the-

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … in the right healthy direction. Valerie, you had a woman, Grandma Wheaton.

Valerie: (laughs) Yes.

Jim: I wanna hear that story.

Valerie: This is my first girlfriend. I’m three years old. She’s 80 something, 83, 85.

Jim: (laughs)

Valerie: And she-

Jim: BFF, right?

Valerie: Yes. My BFF, and, uh, she had either the good fortune or the ill fortune to live next door to me.

Jim: (laughs)

Valerie: And I adopted her when I was three. My mother had her nerve to have another child (laughs). And so I found her and, uh, the beauty of that was she was a fabulous storyteller. One of the first women in Illinois to graduate from college, uh, her family where Wheaton, she was Grandma Wheaton. So they were Wheaton College. They’ve established Wheaton College, that kind of thing. She was a woman of deep, deep faith. And she told me her stories and they were Jesus centered and what Jesus had done for children in all the world. So it was very easy for me to be open to God. Uh, I had this fabulous girlfriend mentor, a storyteller-

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: … who loved me and gave me all of those things.

Jim: And what comes across there is time.

Valerie: Yes.

Jim: She gave you time.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: She’s your neighbor.

Valerie: She couldn’t avoid me. She was using a cane and I was very mobile at three-

Jim: (laughs)

Matt: (laughs)

Valerie: … but you know, I thought about this as I’ve gotten older, now we’re empty nesters and it’s too quiet at my house. I think I’d kind of like it if a three-year-old adopted me now (laughs).

Jim: Yeah. It’s so true. And I think as you’re unfolding, this, what I’m hearing and what is such a good reminder is we need to be engaged in the world around us. I think, you know, with an international ministry, like Focus, there’s a lot of moving parts and it’s, it’s large. It’s hopefully influential, but it really comes back to what you, the listeners and viewers on YouTube, what, what are you doing locally? How can we help you? How can we equip you? But it really is your neighborhood-

Valerie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and the ability for the church to get active.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: That’s the secret.

Valerie: Hmm.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, if we just stay in our walls, we’re dead spiritually.

Valerie: Yeah. And you know, it’s not hard. This is simple. What we’re talking about is so simple. Uh, during COVID now, what do these children need?

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: They just need a good storyteller-

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: … who can tell them about God. Someone-

Jim: I would say even a fair storyteller.

Valerie: Yeah.

Jim: Don’t, don’t limit it. Just, if you can speak, kids will love it.

Valerie: Someone who can give them a front row seat to what faith looks like.

Jim: So true. Let’s, uh, let’s move to believe, which is the second B.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: You say it’s the essential step for creating resilient disciples today? Why, why is that?

Matt: Well, the belief has, this is getting us engaged in the scripture. I mean, clearly, (laughs) you know, ministry to children has to include a strong engagement in the Bible. It’s God’s word. It’s God’s message.

Jim: It is the answering the question. What is it we should believe?

Matt: Yeah, exactly.

Jim: And it is the scripture.

Matt: Yeah. It’s this whole, it’s the idea of epistemology, is leading us to knowledge and truth of wisdom, ultimately salvation and Jesus. But what’s… the reason we’re trying to articulate this so clearly is that many churches have used what we would call a Bible light strategy, which kind of can quickly get you to moralistic therapeutic, uh, deism. Uh, so ideas like reading the scripture aloud together, some of these ideas-

Jim: Yeah.

Matt: … are very basic, but is your children’s ministry or at home, are you ever reading the scripture aloud together, as a parent are you reading it to your children? Are we memorizing a verse together? Maybe it’s a verse a month. You know, something simple like that, teaching our kids, uh, reading a verse together and then say, let me tell you about a time when boy, this didn’t happen in my life. This was painful. And so what’s happening there. You’re, you’re taking that relational piece and that scriptural piece, and you’re merging it together and something special is happening there in those moments.

John: Yeah. I appreciate what you’re saying, Matt. And I’m thinking about the general culture, which doesn’t believe the scriptures and even in much of the Christian community, uh, that’s truth, but it’s only part of the truth ’cause there’s all this other stuff. Um, so how do we, how do we show our kids that, you know, we believe this and we believe it so strongly, but a lot of people you encounter, aren’t gonna believe the same way. I mean, how do we help them with that?

Matt: I would, I would go back to, to one more thing here. Again, going back to that, Valerie did a great job of painting this picture of the broader culture that our kids are swimming in.

John: Right.

Matt: I think we’ve got to clearly articulate what the gospel is. From a highest level, the gospel is a structure of creation, fall, redemption, restoration. And by the way, that just resonates with reality. Children naturally intuitively they know that someone made all of this, they know that, right? And then they also know something’s wrong. You know, there are no there’s problems in the world. That’s the fall, it’s our rebellion. And this idea that someone has to save us from this, our redeemer, and then eventually one day, he’s going to make everything whole again, that arc, that structure makes sense. It resonates with the reality because it is the truth and it is the message of the Bible.

John: Hmm.

Matt: So if we can help kids to see this, this isn’t only a collection of stories, a collection of values and virtues. No, no, no. It’s much more than that. It is the framework for reality. That’s what the Bible really is.

John: Hmm.

Jim: And in your work with Awanas, I mean, that believe component is really one of the core things you’re trying to do, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: Teach the kids the scripture.

Valerie: It’s interesting. That is often what we are criticized for that rote memory-

Jim: Are you serious?

Valerie: … that rote memory of the Bible, you know? But, uh, and Matt and I were saying just before we came in here, how many adults have told us, you know, I went through Awana, I I didn’t know what those verses meant but they’re coming back to me now as an adult, when I need them-

Matt: We hear this all the time.

Valerie: We hear it constantly.

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: So the scripture is not like other written things. It’s alive. It lives, it breathes, uh, even-

Jim: Well, think of that one scripture, you know, his word doesn’t come back void.

Valerie: Yeah.

Jim: That what you guys are doing.

Matt: Yeah.

Valerie: I’ve got it. I’ve got an example of that too. I met a woman who’s secular now. She was very proud of that. She up in a Lutheran church where she had to memorize a lot of scripture, but she said, “It’s the strangest thing. I keep getting those verses back all the time.” (laughs)

Jim: They come to my mind.

Valerie: Yeah. The hound of heaven-

Jim: Right. Exactly right.

Valerie: … she’s sitting with me now.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: Well, that’s good. Let’s, uh, let’s end with become. So, uh, that’s in essence, helping others in your world become disciples I believe.

Valerie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Uh, describe that for how that works in a child’s life.

Valerie: I think it’s a primary identity. Uh it’s that Hayden at the flagpole. He, it has primary identity, not with his friends, not with other things that are happening around him. His primary identity was in Christ, his primary allegiance.

Jim: Yeah.

Valerie: What, uh, what would you die for? What would you go to great lengths to protect? What is precious? What would you share with other people? Because it has so formed who you are. So that is that formative place where we begin to see the Bible and that belonging begin to open up, uh, the identity of this child in the world.

Jim: Yeah. That is really well said. And you know, something you said earlier that is ricocheting around in my head is this idea of spine and heart. I think on the parenting end, we have to remember that as well as we are trying to pray for our kids, point our kids toward a relationship in Christ and a life devoted to him. I think we need to be careful that it’s not all spine and no heart-

John: Hmm.

Jim: … even in our parenting. And I see that even with my boys.

Valerie: Hmm. Interesting.

Jim: We’ve got to be principled with the spine, but also loving and caring and remember that as a parenting attribute-

Valerie: Mm-hmm.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: … so that kids don’t have the justification of walking away, because you’re all about the rules.

Valerie: Hmm.

Jim: And they see that as hypocritical.

Valerie: Yes.

Jim: Boy, this has been so good.

Matt: Yeah.

Jim: Valerie, Matt, we, we have flown through this interview and man, I just appreciate so much. Your writing of this book, Resilient: Child Discipleship and the Fearless Future of the Church. It is hopeful.

Matt: It is.

Jim: And we don’t need to be fearing. The Lord says fear not, that includes the future-

Valerie: Hmm.

Jim: … and the future for your children.

Valerie: Hmm.

Jim: Um, certainly concern creeps in (laughs) and when they can’t find a job-

Matt: They have moments. Yes.

Jim: (laughs) You know, it’s, it’s something we need to do as parents. So thank you. Thank you so much for being with us.

Matt: It’s great to be with you.

Valerie: Our pleasure.

Jim: Let me turn to you, if you’d like a copy of Resilient, I think it’s one of those great resources as a parent. Um, send a gift of any amount. If you can make that a monthly commitment, that would be outstanding. It helps us to even out the budget, but a one-time gift helps as well. So for either, we’ll send you a copy of this great resource as our way of saying thank you.

John: Consider donating today. Uh, when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, or stopped by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And remember that tomorrow is, uh, bring your Bible to school day. We’re encouraging students across the land to take their Bibles, um, as an act of faith in the scripture, and to live out their discipleship. We have a lot of great resources for you about that online. And we also have the livid challenge, of course, which is a more ongoing effort for you, with your kids to dive into God’s word, all the details at the website. And, uh, speaking of tomorrow, Gary Thomas joins us here on this broadcast with the challenge for both husbands and wives.

Preview:

Gary Thomas: And that’s really what we look at marriage as is that it’s not that one person is right or wrong. It’s how marriage helps both of us become more right more loving.

End of Preview

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today. I’m John Fuller and we’ll invite you back next time for more from Focus on the Family as we, once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Cover image of the book Resilient: Child Discipleship and the Fearless Future of the Church

Resilient: Child Discipleship and the Fearless Future of the Church

Receive the book Resilient for your donation of any amount! Plus, receive member-exclusive benefits when you make a recurring gift today. Your monthly support helps families thrive.

Recent Episodes

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Remembering the Gospel This Christmas

Allison Pittman inspires listeners to make Christmas more meaningful as she shares insightful parallels between the Bible and Charles Dickens’ classic novel A Christmas Carol.

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Remembering the Pilgrims’ Journey

Law professor Jay Milbrandt offers a fascinating look at the Pilgrims’ flight to North America from religious persecution in a discussion based on his book They Came for Freedom: The Forgotten, Epic Adventure of the Pilgrims.

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Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

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Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

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Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.