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Hope and Renewal for Our Pastors

Hope and Renewal for Our Pastors

Pastoral couples face unique challenges that many of us don't realize or understand. On this broadcast, a panel of guests, made up of two former pastoral couples, helps identify those challenges, and describes the restorative work they perform.
Original Air Date: October 1, 2018

Preview:

Pauline Doerksen: I don’t want to be in ministry. I don’t want to fix this so that I have to go back to church.

Jim Daly: So you were done.

Pauline: I wanted to be – have permission to leave church.

Jim: Huh, wow.

Pauline: And I wasn’t prepared to engage with people. I didn’t want to meet new people. I didn’t want to put the smile on and have the, “Hi, I’m Pauline,” and yeah. I didn’t have any…

Jim: No, I appreciate that.

Pauline: …Space for any…

Jim: Your tank was empty.

Pauline: It was – it was done.

End of Preview

John Fuller: This is Focus on the Family, and today you’ll hear about the unique challenges and stresses that pastors face, and how you can help and encourage those who serve in your local church. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.

Jim: John, I don’t know that we think enough about our pastoral care folks, and sometimes that’s taking them for granted. And today, we want to concentrate on how they’re serving, what the pressures are for them and for their families, and what we can do to encourage our pastors. October is Clergy Appreciation Month, a time when we recognize and celebrate our pastors and their families. Just think about everything a pastor is trying to do – counseling and praying over hurting families, visiting people in the hospital and the shut-ins, uh, teaching and preaching, of course, and I would think feeling graded every Sunday. Was it a good sermon? Or maybe it was a D-minus. I mean, you’re saying bye to people at the door and you’re looking at them saying, “Okay, did I hit the mark?” I mean, it’s got to be very, um, you know, difficult at times. And I know pastors feel under tremendous pressure. And we want to talk about that today, one, so you’re aware of it, and two, we have a solution that you might be able to help pastors do better.

John: Yeah, and there’s that loneliness that occurs and so often, uh, families take a toll when mom and/or dad – usually both – are serving the church. And, uh, we want to strengthen that – that family that is serving the church because, as they do, the families on the other end of that process are going to be strengthened as well.

Jim: John, too, you think about it, 85 percent, um, of pastors lead churches with less than 200 people in them. They’re not the mega church pastor with lots of resources and lots of help. Most churches, the pastor and maybe his family are doing a lot of the work. And again, we want to speak to you, um, as you are led by them, and maybe you are the pastor. We certainly want to help you and point you in a good direction as well.

John: Yeah. So we have a panel of guests today in the studio, and they’re gonna to describe offering hope and godly encouragement to pastors and their spouses through the retreat centers they direct. There are retreat centers across the U.S. and Canada that really reach out and help church and ministry leaders, and we’ll post a list of those ministries at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Marshall and Merrie Eizenga are with us. And they served as pastors for 35 years in Ontario, Canada, and they co-direct the Kerith Creek Retreat Center in Alberta. And we also have Sam and Pauline Doerksen. They were pastors for 22 years, and they now co-direct the Kerith Pines Retreat Center in Manitoba.

Jim: Well, let me say welcome to all of you to Focus.

Merrie Eizenga: Thank you.

Marshall Eizenga: Thank you.

Sam Doerksen: Thanks.

Pauline: It’s good to be here.

Jim: Now, did we describe that pretty well? I mean, you have been pastors for many years, and you’ve counseled pastors for many years. Did I miss anything, or was that a fairly good description?

Marshall: No, what I would add to that, as you were talking, is the fact that pastors are really first responders.

Jim: Hm.

Marshall: When you think of what they do. You talked about counseling, and those counseling opportunities come not only in an office. It can come in the hospital room. It can come around a coffee table. And as people pour their hearts out to the pastor, pastor hears a lot of things, carries a lot of weight. And that can – that’s a tremendous burden at times to carry.

Jim: What are some of those, uh, routine things that we as lay-people may not understand that really do lay a heavy emotional burden on a pastoral couple?

Sam: What I think is, uh, there’s this vicarious trauma in a sense. So we’re walking alongside people that are in the hospital and other places and, um, we’re affected by that. People, pastors, are affected by, uh, caring for others. It’s not without an effect. And I think of John chapter eight – pardon me, Luke chapter eight where, uh, Jesus is walking in the crowd and a lady – the woman touches Him, and she’s healed. And He turns around and says, “You know, I felt that some power left me. What happened? Who is that?” It does take something. We’re affected by it. Now, that’s Jesus, and we are human pastors. Uh, we will be affected by helping others and in the way we help them. We need be careful about that.

Jim: Well, that’s so true.

Merrie: I think it’s a cumulative effect, too, right? There’s – it’s year after year and decade after decade of trauma. And one of the things that really affected Marshall and I is we had, um – we were in one church for 28 years. And while we were there, we lost three staff members. And so we were helping a congregation grieve. And, yeah, we were so deeply affected by the loss of our friends and our staff. And yet, we had to be strong for everyone else, and that to – you know, it’s trauma that we carried personally.

Jim: Hm.

Pauline: I think another dynamic that happens when you’re coming alongside families and you’re in the heat, if you will, the heat of the trauma, the heat of the despair and the grieving, and you come home and your family didn’t know what you had to face today…

Jim: Right.

Pauline: …And they want to engage with you and yet you’re trying, but you can’t. And so it affects not only the pastor and his wife or his spouse, but your kids sense that something’s off, but they don’t know what happened. And so that’s an interesting dynamic that other families may not be aware of that happens.

Jim: Yeah. And you know, being a pastor’s spouse – I mean, that’s really critical to what demand. How did you feel in that role? Um, you know, often to me, there is a sense of having to be perfect, making sure everything is exactly right, making sure the kids behave perfectly. I mean, that’s an amazing amount of pressure. How do you not take the bait?

Merrie: Well, it was a challenge, no question. I was a preacher’s kid, and so I saw my mom, the weight – carry the weight of that. So I think I went into ministry with some additional baggage. Um, but as I grew – and I think it depends on which church, right?

Jim: Sure.

Merrie: Which church you’re in, what environment you’re in, how much they expect. We were in a larger church, multi-staff, so I didn’t carry the weight of that. Sometimes they weren’t even sure who was the lead pastor’s wife. And that was a help to me.

Jim: Yeah.

Merrie: But there were certainly times of real loneliness. And who does the pastor’s wife tell that she’s lonely or she’s struggling? And, um, that was a challenge for me.

Jim: How did you solve that? What advice do you have to the pastor’s wife who’s listening?

Merrie: You know, what? I went to God, and I said, “Lord, I really need a close friend.” And um, for me, I had to find it outside my church.

Jim: Yeah.

Merrie: Another – it was another pastor’s wife, and the Lord dropped a name in my heart and I said to her – we actually went for coffee, and I said, “Do you want to be my friend?” And she said, “Yeah. Do you want to be my friend?” It was like junior high.

John: Oh, my goodness.

Merrie: And, yeah, she was a gift to me and, uh, God gave her to me.

Jim: Let me paint a picture for those who are saying, “You know, I don’t even know the world of my pastor. I maybe shake his hand on the way out the door or maybe say hello occasionally.” But, um, let me give you some data and have you respond to it. Um, this is research that showed that 50 percent of pastors have said they would quit if they could – 50 percent. That right there should be a jaw dropper. Seventy percent, um, have a lower self-esteem now than when they started in the ministry. Something is unhealthy there. That shouldn’t be the way it goes. What’s fueling that kind of discouragement, do you think?

Marshall: I think there’s expectations that a board can have of a pastor, expectations of congregants, and then there are your own expectations. And sometimes what can happen, what we see and hear, is that people can be – trying to meet those expectations, and they’re owning somebody else’s expectations. And you can never satisfy people.

Jim: Hm.

Marshall: You know, we – I remember one of our mentors said to us, “You know, that 15 percent of the congregation isn’t going to like you on a particular Sunday.” And…

Jim: Think of that.

Marshall: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, again, just say that again. Fifteen percent…

John: You walk into work knowing that, yeah.

Jim: …they’re not gonna like you.

Marshall: They’re not going to like you, and the next Sunday, it’ll be a different 15 percent.

Jim: Because of what you’re saying?

Marshall: Because what you’re saying or something you did or something you didn’t do in a service that you did the week before that they liked.

Jim: Right. Let me – let me interject here. Have you found that oftentimes it’s because you’ve touched a raw nerve? I mean, they’re responding because you’ve really opened something up that’s a wound.

Marshall: Yeah.

Jim: Isn’t that true?

Marshall: That would be very true.

Jim: I would think most of the time that’s accurate. You’re stepping on something that maybe they haven’t dealt with yet or…

Pauline: Well, isn’t that part of a struggle, right? You’re – so you’re their pastor.

Jim: Right.

Pauline: And you can – you want to shepherd them and you want to guide them and direct them. At the same time, they’re not treating you in a way that is making you feel like you want to shepherd them!

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Well – and that’s the human side of the whole thing.

Pauline: Yeah, exactly.

Sam: If there’s respect and they come and talk to you where you can see them and you’re face to face and you’re not speaking through the bush and that kind of thing, that is the best way to go. Let’s be honest about it. What is the – the issue that you have? Then we can have a conversation about it.

Jim: Right.

Sam: But otherwise we can’t because as pastors I think it’s really important for us to also understand our humanness.

Pauline: Yeah.

Jim: Oh, I thought you were talking marriage advice.

(LAUGHTER)

Yeah, this is pastors and congregants, not husbands and wives. Um, you actually have an incredible story about your situation, the pressure that you two are under and you went to Kerith Creek. You actually experienced it, I think, in 2011, right?

Sam: Yeah.

Jim: But, um, Sam, what were you doing? What was the situation?

Sam: We’d been in, uh, the pastorate for 19 years at that point, and we were getting tired. I would say the word exhausted would probably be a good word. And, uh, there was just a number of things going on – uh, health issues in my family and we were in the middle of a church-building project, and there was tensions and conflicts in our, uh, leadership team. And so all of those things together – not just the ministry, but all of those things together, uh, really made us tired, made me tired. And I felt pretty exhausted and wasn’t sure what to do about it. And so I remember going to a physician and talking to him, and he took 45 minutes with me, uh, just talking about this kind of thing and whether there was some depression involved and so on. And then about two months later, I was sharing my story with someone else, and, uh, I said, “You know, sometimes I’m just laying on the couch or on the floor I’m not quite sure what to do.” And he looked at me. He said, “Sam, I don’t know how to answer your question. Or I don’t know how to solve your problem, but just let me – next time you feel like that, give me a phone call, and I’ll come and lay down beside you.”

Jim: Huh.

Sam: And for me, it was just an “aha” moment, a God moment, that helped me understand that he believed me. And now, we could work with it.

Jim: Yeah.

Sam: But until that point, you just felt like, “Where do I go from here? What do I do?”

Jim: Pauline, how do you shore that up? You see your husband in that situation. Of course, you’re carrying that burden as well and – but probably feeling like, “I’ve got to be everything here.”

Pauline: Well, I definitely felt the pressure to – you know how it is when you’re married and your spouse is at a lower point. You want to be more positive, more optimistic and carry more. And often that vacillates, right? So one is down and the other is up. And – but we found our self at the place we were both down. I just didn’t have energy either to – to encourage Sam because I wasn’t feeling that much encouraged either. In fact, I was getting more and more angry. You know, it’s one thing to – to deal with the needs that people have in lives of unbelievers. But when tension comes within believers, that threw me through a loop. I didn’t expect that.

Jim: Yeah.

Pauline: And with the degree that it went…

Jim: So it was discouraging?

Pauline: It did, and it rocked my faith. I was like, “Lord, you know, you’ve called us here, and you’ve called them here, and why is there tension? Why can’t we, um – it shouldn’t be this way. We’re your church.”

Jim: And that’s probably why you see that number of 50 percent would do something else if they could – 50 percent of pastors. Seventy percent feel less equipped now than when they started in the ministry and more discouraged. Kerith Retreat, um, describe that experience for yourselves given the low point that you’re both in. So you went to Kerith in 2011 as pastors, as a pastoral couple. Engaging it, what was it like? Why did it help you?

Sam: We walked to the front doors and we went, “So what are we doing here?”

Pauline: It was terrifying.

Jim: “We don’t have time for this” would be – yeah, I think that’d be the common thing.

Sam: Absolutely, yeah.

Pauline: I don’t even think it was – for myself, it wasn’t the time factor. It was, “I don’t want to be in ministry. I don’t want to fix this so that I have to go back to church.”

Jim: So you were done?

Pauline: I wanted to be – have permission to leave church.

Jim: Huh, wow.

Pauline: And I wasn’t prepared to engage with people. I didn’t want to meet new people. I didn’t want to put the smile on and have the, “Hi, I’m Pauline,” and yeah. I didn’t have any…

Jim: No, I appreciate that.

Pauline: …Space for any…

Jim: Your tank was empty.

Pauline: …It was – it was done.

Sam: When we got to Calgary, we ended up having lunch. And we got back in the car. We put back the seats, and we fell asleep.

Pauline: In the parking lot.

Sam: We were just tired. And so then we made our way to the retreat center. And when we get there, they told us, “Hey, you know what, there’s no pressure. You can relax. You can rest. You have permission to rest right now.” And we did. So the first couple of days we did what we needed to. But we slept a lot. And we got some good energy back. And that’s – at Kerith, we kind of recognized, yeah, we are – we are human. And we need to embrace our humanness and recognize that we have limitations.

Pauline: But you know, the permission that came for me at – at the Creek was the fact that, you know, you have permission to be human as you serve. I don’t have to be some superwoman that has, you know, as you mentioned, the kids all had to be in tow and their clothes had to be such and your smile on your face. I have permission to be real. And I have permission to hurt when you have someone in your church that you’re not just helping a grieving family, but you’re grieving, too. And when we left there, it’s not like we had all this magical formula now to go home and everything is, you know, miraculously changed.

Jim: Right. That’s still the stuff.

Pauline: We had permission – the stuff was still there. But we now had tools to – to learn how to minister from a healthier place.

Jim: And thankfully you’re still in it.

Pauline: Yeah.

Sam: Yes.

John: Well, you’re listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and we’re hearing about some of the unique challenges that pastors and their families face. And if you and your spouse serve in ministry, know please, that Focus on the Family is here to help you. We have caring Christian counselors. They’re discreet, they’re available to pray with you and to advise you. The number to call is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And then we also have a wonderful book. It’s written for couples in full time ministry. It’s called The Heart of a Great Pastor. Contact us for your copy or to pass along to a pastoral couple you know. Again our number, 800-A-FAMILY or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Marshall and Merrie, we’re not going to let you off the hook here.

(LAUGHTER)

You’ve been listening to Pauline and Sam. But you also have a powerful story about a couple that you encountered at the retreat center there in Alberta. Describe the challenges that that couple was going through. It’s probably very similar. But why did that story stick out in your mind?

Marshall: They were a missionary couple and had come back to Canada. You know, you hear stories all the time. And this one was a case of – man, we couldn’t really find anything that went well for them overseas. In fact, she came home and was diagnosed with PTSD. And when they came, they only came to Kerith because their denominational leader said, “You are going.” So they came in very closed at first. He was very distant. She was kind of open as we would talk. But you know, there was no desire to be there because they didn’t think anything could ever be fixed. They were really in a state of hopelessness.

Jim: Huh.

Marshall: And so we went through the week with them. And we heard their story. And we were grieving with them. And Sunday night – in the course of the week, the Sunday night is beautiful because it’s a communion service. And at the end of the communion service, we love to pray with each of the couples. So Merrie and I were going. We put – we just knelt down in front of this couple. And the Lord dropped this verse into my heart. And I thought, “Oh, how do I share this verse?” And I thought, “Okay, it’s not going away, so I’m just going to pray this verse over him.” So I pray this verse. And at the end of it, he says to me, “I need to talk to you.” And I’m thinking, “Yeah, you probably do. And you’re probably going to let me have it,” because I – he just still wasn’t open.

So for an hour and a half, he really just opened up even more. But then he said to me, “You know that we were going to quit? We were going back. We were leaving here Tuesday. We had an appointment Tuesday afternoon to meet with our denominational leader. We were leaving the ministry.” But he said, “That verse you prayed over me is the verse God called me into the ministry. And it was a reminder that God’s not done with us. We felt done. We felt finished. We felt as if we’d come to the end. But your prayer tonight has sparked hope.”

Jim: That’s amazing.

Merrie: It is amazing.

Jim: Yeah. And it’s beautiful. And it’s tragic, I mean, that we get so beaten up, so run-down that it has to be that desperate moment. But what a great testimony they have, that God didn’t forget them and that God still had a plan for them. Merrie, tell me in that context, again, when you’re ministering to the wives of these spouses that feel so hopeless – I mean, hopelessness is a hard thing to overcome in any walk of life. But when you’re a person that should be full of hope because you’re a Christian and you’re a Christian leader, you’re a pastor, you should be full of this hope and you don’t have it, what do you do?

Merrie: Um, I find it’s the lack of hope. And it’s also, what I’m seeing – I went through it, certainly, in my own life, but I’m hearing it all the time in pastor’s wives – is a deep sense of disappointment because you didn’t think it would be like this. You prayed that it would be different. You believed it would be different. You parented different. And yet, you’re faced somewhere along the line with this profound sense of disappointment. One author says that it arrives so quietly, this disappointment, I didn’t even know it was there until I spoke it out loud. And I certainly felt it in my own life. And we see that all the time in pastor’s wives. It was during one of our first retreats, and again, during this communion service, we were praying for the couples. And we just knelt down and just laid our hands on them and began to pray just a simple prayer. And the pastor’s wife began to weep from this really deep place. And you could tell that something was happening. And the next day she said to us, “I’m so sorry, I could not contain this deep cry of my heart.” And I said, “Can you tell me what was happening?” And she said, um, “When you knelt down and you laid your hands on us and began to pray, I realized that that was the first time in over two decades that a pastor and his wife had ever come and prayed with us.” And she said, “That first time was when they” – and the last time – “was when they sent us into ordination, when we were ordained to the ministry.” And she said, “For two decades, I’ve been without – we’ve been without that.”

Jim: Yeah, so all output, no input.

Merrie: Yeah. And she said, “It was so – I wonder what our lives would have been like and ministry would have been like if we would have had, um, other leaders coming around and praying for us.” So it met this felt need in her heart and so – and we see that all the time happening.

John: Yeah. Merrie, what – you mentioned the disappointment. Is that disappointment with God or with His people or with your performance?

Merrie: It’s a great question. I think it’s a combination of things. For me, it was disappointment with God. I really had a crisis of faith in 2014. And um, I was deeply disappointed. And it was with God. And I didn’t know who to go – because who does the pastor’s wife go to?

And um, so I just said one morning – Marshall came in. I was – I can remember exactly where I was standing. And it wasn’t that long ago. It was 2014. And I said to him, “I want you to know I’m not praying anymore. It’s done. I’m done. I’ll sit in the front row with you. I won’t jeopardize your position. But I want you to know I’m done praying. God’s not answering our prayers.” So I – I stopped praying. And our war room – my war room – was no longer the war room. It was just our spare bedroom. But I didn’t stop reading my Bible. And God spoke to me directly out of Romans 11 verses 33 to 36 one morning. And um, I realized I was gonna have to make a decision. Was I going to trust Him, not knowing what the outcome was? Was I going to trust that He was a good father and that He was working behind the scenes? And it was a tipping point for me. And I knew I had to make a decision.

Jim: What – what was Romans 11? Give us the verse so we can…

Merrie: It was, “Oh, the depths of the riches of His wisdom and knowledge. How unsearchable His ways and His paths beyond tracing out. Who can know the mind of the Lord? Or who has ever been His counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay Him? For through Him and to Him and in Him are all things.” And at that moment, I was confronted with my own need. I felt God owed me an explanation, um, why He wasn’t doing things or why He was doing things. And I knew I was going to have to decide what was I going to do not knowing, not knowing.

Jim: Well, I appreciate so much that vulnerability, you know. And that’s where we learn. That pretending, Pauline, that we talked about a moment ago, Merrie’s really hitting it there. Let’s just be honest. And I so appreciate that. It does give us an action item for those who are in the pews. You know, those of us that aren’t in pastoral leadership, how we can ask our pastor if we can pray for them right there. I mean, the fact that you have that story that that couple had not been prayed for for two decades should be a wake-up call to the rest of us sitting there. How blessed they would be. And that’s probably true of most pastors. That’s probably not unique to be able to go up at the end of the service when things are quiet and done and say, “Can we just pray for you?” They’d probably start crying…

Merrie: Yes, they do.

Jim: …Because nobody has done that. Um, we have an opportunity during October to encourage and celebrate pastors and their families because of Clergy Appreciation Month. This is your chance to let your pastor know how much you care about them – maybe with a card or a simple gift. Some churches like to organize a banquet or some kind of an event to recognize their pastor. And if you’d like some creative ideas about how and what you can do, we have a free planning guide for you at our website. And I wanna recommend you check it out. And don’t limit your positive feedback to the month of October. Pastors and their families need to know that we, the people sitting in the pews, care about them throughout the year. But this is a great reminder today that we need to start somewhere. So please, contact us about how you can begin encouraging your pastor in the days ahead.

John: We have several resources that I know you’ll find helpful. One is our Clergy Appreciation Month planning guide and then we have a list of retreat centers that offer rest and renewal for church and ministry leaders. And of course the book I mentioned earlier, The Heart of a Great Pastor, which offers a lot of encouragement to pastoral couples. We’d be happy to send a copy of that book to you as you make a donation of any amount to Focus on the Family. Either a monthly pledge or a one-time gift. That’s our way of saying “thank you” for partnering with us to show pastors and their families how much we care and we’ll have all the details on the website.

Jim: Let me pop one last question, and y’all can answer or one of you, whatever. A practical thing: so someone’s heard this, they’ve noticed, maybe they’ve talked to the pastor’s wife, and they know there’s some difficulty. What is something we can do to help our pastors today?

Marshall: I’ll tell you one of the things that we found neat was gift cards.

Jim: For them, yeah. Take a date night. Here’s a card.

Marshall: Yeah. And so we’ve – we were the beneficiaries of that. And then now that we’re sitting in the pew for – in October, that’s what we did for our pastor. We said, “Hey, here’s a gift card. This is for you and your wife. You find somebody to take care of your kids.” And then he sent us a note and said, “Man, that was such a neat idea that you had for us.”

Jim: Well, and I so appreciate Pastor’s Appreciation Month. But H.B. London, who was at Focus, started that. I think even Hallmark picked up on it and started doing cards. So when you get that, that’s a pretty good idea.

(LAUGHTER)

John: That’s official.

Jim: But I think H would also say he laments the fact that that’s great we are concentrating on October, but we got 11 other months, and how beautiful it is to do some things throughout the year. So that’s a great idea. Thanks for that.

Pauline: Can I add one?

Jim: Sure.

Pauline: Okay. So when I – we have four kids. And so house was busy. And we had a couple approach us one time, “You know what? We’re taking your kids go-karting and you can’t come. You guys get the night off. And we’re taking your kids.” And…

Sam: I was going say exactly that one.

Pauline: …So…

John: So you remember that one, too?

Jim: Sam, you wanted to go go-karting.

(LAUGHTER)

No, no, no. Leave the kids here and we’ll go go-karting.

Pauline: But you know, as a mom, to have somebody pour into your kids because of the role that you play and the difference that you’re making in their lives, like, that just does something to you…

Jim: That’s fantastic. That’s a great idea.

Pauline: …And they love on them, you know? And it’s evident today because we, too, were in the same church for 22 years. And our kids, that’s home for them. And it’s multigenerational. And it’s because those – of those events throughout those times. And “Hey, we’re going to take them.” We’re just – that was huge. That was huge.

Jim: Well said, well said. Thanks for being with us.

Merrie: Thank you for having us. It was great to be here.

Pauline: Thank you.

Sam: Yeah, thank you.

John: What a great conversation we’ve had today with our panel of guests who have helped us to better understand the important need to care for our pastors and their families and to pray for them on a regular basis. Now don’t forget the resources that we’ve mentioned along the way. The free planning guide for ways to celebrate your pastor this month and the list of retreat centers that offer rest and refreshment to ministry leaders. And then finally, the book, The Heart of a Great Pastor, is a really good gift idea for your pastor. Learn more about all of these resources at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family and with your church family as well, of course, and then please join us again on Monday. We’re gonna have insights and encouragement from comedian Ken Davis.

Preview:

Ken Davis: Do you know what almost 60 years of living as taught me? Only with God, does thrill come to life. Only with God does fulfillment come to life. Everything else leaves you stranded on the beach, feeling cheap.

End of Preview

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

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The Heart of a Great Pastor: How to Grow Strong and Thrive Wherever God Has Planted You

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Rediscovering Faith in a Culture of Chaos

Dr. Os Guinness shares deep insights into the current chaos in the United States in what is a cultural revolution. He inspires believers to be agents of justice and compassion, offering solutions for the restoration of true freedom, which leads to peace and order in society.

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Listening to the Heart of Your Kids

Becky Harling offers practical ways you can intentionally listen to your child. From learning to give her a voice to the importance of non-verbal communication to teaching him how to make wise decisions, you’ll see how listening is one of the most important components of parenting.

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Taking Courageous Steps to Save Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Ann White’s marriage was in desperate trouble, but she was terrified to let anyone know. She discusses how God helped her to break through dysfunctional patterns and finally ask for help. Hear this courageous story about a marriage restored. (Part 2 of 2)

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A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Popular Christian vocalist Larnelle Harris reflects on his five-decade music career, sharing the valuable life lessons he’s learned about putting his family first, allowing God to redeem a troubled past, recognizing those who’ve sacrificed for his benefit, and faithfully adhering to biblical principles amidst all the opportunities that have come his way.

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Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll explains how listeners can find freedom from self-imposed and unrealistic standards of perfection in a discussion based on her book, Breaking Up With Perfect: Kiss Perfection Goodbye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You.

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.

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.

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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!

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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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!

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 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 6: Families Helping Families!

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!

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.

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!

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.

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 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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you! 

Focus on the Family

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