Author and blogger Brooke McGlothlin discusses the need for parents to pray Scripture over their sons, and offers advice on raising boys to be men of integrity, character and respect.
Mr. Ken Davis: I got kicked out of Lamaze class, probably the only guy in the world to be kicked out of Lamaze.
Ken: They showed a movie. I said, “Run it backwards.” And the lady didn’t have a sense of humor.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: (Laughter) As you can tell, Ken Davis had a bit of an attitude, or did as a new dad, and you’ll hear why on today’s episode of Focus on the Family with you host Focus president Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, Ken Davis, he never planned to become a parent, but now he’s a proud father of two and grandfather of six, and today he’s going to share encouragement for dads, as we anticipate Father’s Day this weekend. And, you know, men have a special role in the family. They show their daughters what to look for in a future husband, how a man should treat his wife. And they show their boys how to be a good husband, father, and man of integrity. And no matter how old your kids are, every day is a good day for fathers to lean in and spend time with their children.
John Fuller: That’s really true, and, uh, today’s guest, Ken Davis, has a knack for inspiring men. He’s written a number of books, he’s a motivational speaker, and he teaches speaking skills to ministry professionals and corporate executives. Here he is now at a Promise Keepers event in San Diego several years back and he’s just starting the story on today’s Focus on the Family.
Ken: Little boy sat at his desk perplexed. After some thought, he got down off the chair and he went into the kitchen where his mother was preparing dinner. He said, “Mom, where did I come from?” His mom froze. She had been meaning to talk to her son about this, but she was too busy now and she shouldn’t – hadn’t expected him to ask so soon. So, she put him off one more time with the old lie she’d been telling all along. She said, “Son, the stork brought you.” He hung his head and he started back toward his room, and as he passed his den – the den, he saw his grandma sitting in there knitting. So, he went in and said, “Grandma…” crawled up on his grandma’s lap. He said, “Grandma, where did I come from?” Grandma wasn’t going to touch this with a ten foot pole. She said, “The stork brought you. Same way as he brought your mom. Same way as he brought me.” The little boy climbed down off his grandmother’s lap. He went back, crawled up in the chair, and began his school report with these words, “There hasn’t been a normal birth in our family for three generations.”
Ken: I tell you that to say this, to warn you, that there has never been a normal birth in our family. God did not give me an athletic body. He gave me a twisted mind and I’m going to use it until the day I die. Second, to tell you this: that in the message that I’m going to give you today, it’s taken from the book of Malachi. The situation is much the same. The book of Malachi shows a people who have not experienced what God had intended for them to experience for a long, long time. These were a people who had lost touch with God. They had all of the form of religion; they had all of the form of faith. On the outside it looked good, but on the inside they were lukewarm. They were absolutely dead.
There’s a story that I love about a woman who looked out the window and was horrified to see her German shepherd shaking the life out of the neighbor’s rabbit. They had had trouble with this neighbor, and this was going to make it worse. So, she grabbed a broom and ran outside, and she beat on that dog until he dropped the rabbit. She looked down at a rabbit which was very filthy and extremely dead. She didn’t know what to do. So, she picked the rabbit up on the end of the broom, brought him into the house, and dumped him in the bathtub. She turned on the spray and cleaned him off on one side. Then she tipped him over with the broom, and directed the shower spray onto that side, and cleaned that off until it was clean. She thought for a moment, and then she went and got her hair dryer, and blew him dry on both sides. Then she got an old brush and combed him out until he looked pretty good. When the neighbor wasn’t looking, she hopped over the fence and propped him up in his cage.
Ken: She didn’t want to be blamed for this. About two hours later she heard the neighbor screaming. She ran outside pretending like she didn’t know what happened. The neighbor came to the fence. All of the blood had drained from her face. This lady said, “What happened? What happened?” And the lady said, “Our rabbit – our rabbit, he died two weeks ago, and we buried him, and he’s back.”
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
Ken: Malachi comes to prophesy to a group of people who were not unlike that rabbit. From all outward appearances they looked okay, but on the inside they were dead. What is interesting is that they had not turned against God. They had just turned away from God. They had been propped up in their cages. The theme of the book of Malachi, I believe, can be wrapped up in a couple of simple points. God says to these people, “I have loved you.” And then He says to them, “You have, in spite of that love, despised My name.” And the last part of the book of Malachi is so clear that judgement is coming. The people of Israel were moaning and groaning. They were dissatisfied. Israel remained a weak little providence in the midst of a powerful secular nation. In spite of the prophecies of their coming power, they were still weak. They were surrounded by people who seemed to have all of the power. They did not trust the judgement of God. They were complaining because evil was all around them, and God’s judgement had not come. Does this sound familiar?
In response, they were despising God’s name. They were giving Him substandard sacrifices, and then complaining because God didn’t accept them. They were marrying those of other gods. They were embracing the things that broke the heart of God. They were betraying the covenant with the wife of their youth, forgetting the promises they had made and they were calling to God for judgement. Friends, we need to be careful when we call to God for judgement because in our minds, we think that His judgement only comes to those who have committed grave sins, and we forget that His judgement is also reserved for the dead rabbits. In this ominous setting there is a fascinating portion to Malachi, and I’m going to read it to you.
Malachi 4:5 says this – after all of this impending rhetoric about judgment, all the impending rhetoric about what God is going to come to do to the evil around them – he says this, “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day the Lord comes. He will turn…” Listen. “…He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Some translations indicate that it might be, “before I come to strike the land with a curse.” And then the Scriptures are silent for 400 years.
Now, who is this prophet Elijah? The prophet Elijah is John the Baptist. In Matthew, they speak very clearly identifying him as John the Baptist, the one who would make a way for the Lord. The one who would introduce He who was the light. And John, himself, said, “I am not that light, but I come to bear witness of that light.” Indeed, dads, indeed husbands, indeed sons, it was Jesus Christ that would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. It was Jesus Christ that would turn the hearts of the children to the fathers.
Nationally, personally, our eyes have turned from God just like the people of Israel. The result is we have a broken relationship with God, and because of that broken relationship with God, we are experiencing broken relationships with the people we love the most on the face of this earth. 55-percent of the men in America freely admit that they believe that they are living dysfunctionally in their own families. Something is wrong.
I would like to share with you some evidence that men’s hearts are returning to their children, and that the hearts of the children are turning to their fathers. This is only evidence. If you were to take this as techniques for being a better dad, you will miss the whole point of what God is trying to say to us. Techniques don’t work. You can come and learn 15 of the greatest techniques of fathering, the greatest techniques of being a good Christian, the greatest techniques of having marvelous patience, and if you walk out of here without the real key, it will disappear in the first traffic jam outside the door.
Here is the first evidence: a commitment of time. Zig Ziglar says, “Love is spelled T-I-M-E.” We live in a culture where we don’t have time for the people who are most important to us, where we don’t take time for our children, where we are busy building careers, where we are barely scraping to just make ends meet, and we forget that the greatest ends we need to meet are the needs of our wife, the needs of our children, the needs of our dads, the needs of our moms.
Love is spelled “time.” Aren’t you glad that God didn’t send us an e-mail? Aren’t you glad that He didn’t send us a fax? Aren’t you glad He didn’t leave a message on our phone system? Aren’t you glad he sent Jesus to live among us and take the time to prove the love of God?
Ken: I heard a story of a young man whose dad said to him, “Let’s go fishing.” They sat all day long and didn’t catch a thing. Years later, the man was going through his journal and found a journal of his son. This dad had written in his journal on that day that he took his son fishing, “Didn’t catch a thing. A whole day wasted.” He opened the journal to the same day and saw his son’s entry. “Spent the whole day with my dad. Greatest day of my life.”
Ken: A word to those of you who have young children. The window of opportunity for investing time in your child will be gone tomorrow. My child was born – I didn’t even want children. It isn’t that I hated children. It’s just that we met one.
Ken: We went to a house to eat. They sat me next to a 1-and-a-half-year-old child to eat. Gentlemen, that’s the grossest experience in all of life.
Ken: That kid had food spread all over me and my wife. I’ll never forget when he turned to me and spoke to me in a language I did not understand. Food up to his elbows, going “Ding ga, ga, ne ga de ga.”
Ken: I whispered to him, “You touch me, I’ll drop kick you.”
Ken: You think I’m kidding. On the way home I said to my wife, “I don’t ever want to have children.” She was rubbing food stains from her dress. She said, “Neither do I.” A couple of weeks later we sat in a doctor’s office…
Ken: …And the doctor told us that we were incapable of having children. He said, “It’s physically impossible.” And God’s ears perked up. I have a 21-year-old daughter we named “Physically.”
Ken: I got a 17-year-old that’s “Impossible.”
Ken: I wouldn’t trade those two children for anything on the face of the earth.
John: Ken Davis on today’s episode of Focus on the Family and you can get a CD of this entire program so you can listen in the car or pass it along to somebody for a gift of any amount when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or you can donate and request that CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and return now to Ken Davis.
Ken: I want to tell you something. I came from a strict home. I rejected many of the things my parents taught me. I probably don’t raise my children the same way my parents raised me, but I am so grateful that they raised me in such a way that abortion was never an option.
Ken: About three months after the doctor’s visit, my wife sat me down and said, “I’m going to have a baby.” I was angry. I said, “Why’d you do that?”
Ken: I have not been a good husband all my life. I’m still working on being a good husband. And if my wife had followed the dictates of many, advice that she had received, she would have left me long, long ago. I was angry. She was making $22,000 a year working in a bank. I was working in the ministry making $8,000 a year. I liked it that way. I didn’t want it to change. I thought children would ruin my life. I had a bad attitude right up until the day they were born.
I got kicked out of Lamaze class – probably the only guy in the world to be kicked out of Lamaze.
Ken: They showed a movie. (Laughter) I said, “Run it backwards.” And the lady didn’t have a sense of humor.
Ken: But the second that child was born, I was overcome with love. This was flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood, and I will tell you without a hint of hesitation that I would have died for her in that moment. There were three people in the room – me, the doctor, and my wife. Then by only a miracle of God – poof – there were four people in the room.
I ran from the room to call my wife and tell her. She wasn’t home.
Ken: I got so messed up. That doctor brought me that little baby in his arms. He said, “Would you like to hold her?” I said, “No.” Tears streaming down my face. He said, “Why not?” I said, “Because she’ll break.” I never saw anything so fragile in all my life. The doctor said, “Stand up,” because I was sitting on the floor.
Ken: This is a true story. I stood up, and he put that baby in my hands, and a little hand reached up . Her whole hand wasn’t any bigger than my thumb. She wrapped that little hand around my little finger, and I made a horrible mistake. I blinked and when I opened my eyes she was still in my arms. I was still weeping, but I was leaving her in a college dorm room 700 miles from my house. It went like that. (snapping noise) In December of last year, that little girl grabbed a hold of my arm one last time, and we walked down an aisle. When we got to the front, I kissed that hand one more time, and then I placed her hand in the hand of a gorilla, basically.
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
Ken: I love him so much. He was at Promise Keepers in Chicago with me. I love him dearly, but he’s still a gorilla.
Ken: Friends, in John 16:24 it says this – Jesus looked at His disciples just before He was about to die – and He said, “A new command I give you, that you love each other like I loved you.’” He said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples.” How did He love us? He made a commitment to leave His throne on high, to leave all of the glory that was His, and come down here to spend the time with us that would allow us to know the love and forgiveness of God. If you want evidence that your heart, Dad, is returning to you, your sons, your daughters, make the commitment of time. I’m speaking to you sons, too, because this isn’t easy.
I remember sitting in a hotel room weeping once at a message I heard of how important it is for a father to spend time with their children. And Dads, you need to realize this. Dream in reality, not in fantasy. I could hardly wait to get home. I got on that plane. It couldn’t fly fast enough. I wanted to leave my luggage there. I got my luggage. I went home. I threw open the door, and I said to my daughter, “Honey, I love you. I heard a message on television. I haven’t spent enough time with you. We’re going to the cabin this weekend, just you and me.” And my daughter, who was about 16 at the time, rolled her eyes way back in her head and said, “Is this going to be a family thing?”
Ken: Kids, you will never know – teenagers, young men – you will never, ever know the value of you taking time to be with your dad. How many of you dads in here have discovered that when your kids reach 16, 17, 18, when your heart begins to turn back toward them, just when they get to be the age when they can be good companions, they choose other companions? Young men, if you claim the name of Jesus Christ, make time for your dad. Honor your father with your time.
John: Well, we’re only halfway through this really powerful message today on Focus on the Family from Ken Davis as he spoke a number of years back at a Promise Keepers event. And that crowd of almost 50,000 men obviously appreciated what he was saying there. That we need to spend time with our loved ones.
Jim: Well, I hope we can all take this message to heart, and really make that extra effort to spend time with our kids. And as children ourselves, if our parents are still on this earth, to acknowledge the role of dads in our lives. You know, even though I lost my Dad at a young age and we didn’t have a great relationship when Father’s Day rolls around, I still honor him, to at least think of the good memories that I have, related to my Dad.
John: I appreciate that, Jim. That’s a good way to think about Father’s Day for us when we’re adult children. And I’m really fortunate to have a lot of good memories with my dad. Just hanging out watching him tinker in his workshop. He really let me into his world and that’s something any dad can do. Just share those everyday moments.
Jim: Well, that’s good. And you know, when our boys hit their teen years, I realized I only had a few summers left with them, before they became adults and moved out of the house. So, Jean and I really made an effort to at least take the boys camping a few times over each of the summers to build those really good memories and, uh, we have listeners who share great ideas with us all the time, and here’s one I loved. One couple wrote in to say that the husband requested an early-morning shift at work, so that he could pick up their kids from school every day and spend the afternoon with them. Now that’s being an involved parent.
Jim: And it’s a good reminder to take a look at your schedule and just see if there are any days where you could spend more time with your children, during these brief years when they’re at home with you. And, you know, for many families the recent shelter-in-place orders help parents and their children grow closer together. One manufacturer of board games saw their sale for puzzles sore, get this, almost 400 percent in two weeks during the worst of the pandemic.
John: Now, that’s a good idea for bonding.
Jim: It is.
John: Sit around a puzzle. I mean, that makes sense.
Jim: Yeah, Troy and I had a great time working on model cars. It was really nice to just sit with him and chat for an hour or so each day that we worked on them. And with boys, they seem to share their feelings more readily while doing something like a puzzle. It feels safer to them, I think, rather than sitting face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball.
John: Mm hmm.
Jim: But, of course, we understand that for many families, these past few months have been marked by unemployment, perhaps illness, or separation from loved ones. And we have been praying for you. Jean and I have started almost every day praying for you. In addition, praying for the first responders and for the medical professionals who’ve been on the front lines of the war, this battle, against the coronavirus. Thank you for your service. And as many of you know, to try to help families at home, we launched our free streaming service called [email protected] and we filled that digital library with excellent, faith-filled programming for both adults and children. We also offered a four-week free trial of our Adventures in Odyssey Club, and almost 100,000 families took advantage of our generosity. And that offer ends at the end of the month, so sign up today if you haven’t already done so.
John: Mm hmm. Yeah, and families really seem to love Adventures in Odyssey. It’s for kids primarily 8 to 12, but we hear from teens and from a lot of adults who still enjoy it.
Jim: John, in fact, here’s a note we received from an Adventures in Odyssey fan, Jennifer. She wrote: “I became a Christian in my 20s, and Adventures in Odyssey taught me how to walk with God. I am so thankful for this ministry. And now my kids listen to Odyssey every night right after dinner. Thanks, Focus!”
Jim: That’s so good. And let me just say, if you donate to Focus on the Family, thank you for making it possible for us to produce and distribute Adventures in Odyssey and all of the other great resources here at Focus. And we know that the pandemic has affected many of our supporters financially, and we are seeing decreased giving because of that, but we are also seeing an increased need among families. So, if you’re able, can you support us today? Right now, some generous friends of this ministry have offered to match your donation, dollar-for-dollar, so that your gift will have twice the impact. A $25 gift will become $50 and so on. This is a great time to give to the family. And when you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you a CD copy of this complete, two-part message from Ken Davis, as our way of saying thank you for partnering with us.
John: Just give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or you can donate online and request that CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And be sure to tune in next time when Ken Davis continues this presentation. He’ll explain how we should love each other just like the unconditional love of your family dog.
Ken: You can be gone for five minutes, five hours, five days, you come home, that dog is right there at the door going, “Oh, I’m so glad to see you. Eh, uh, ow…. Come and see what I’ve done. Come and see what I’ve done.”
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