FOTF-Logo-Stretch-Color.png
Search

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Leaving a Legacy of Faith (Part 1 of 2)

Leaving a Legacy of Faith (Part 1 of 2)

Pastor Dan Seaborn shares heartfelt family stories to illustrate the importance of passing along our faith to the next generation. He encourages parents to teach their children Godly principles through modeling, good communication, and generational influence. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: September 6, 2011

Preview:

Dan Seaborn: You know what we do in our families too much? Stop that over there! You boys quit bickering. I’m guilty. I’m Mr. Guilty, right? I said stop it. You cool it. Your father needs to rest. I’m all over the place. Telling ’em, “Stop. No. Move. Move. Move. Move.” Man, you know what we need to do in our families more often? Celebrate when we see Jesus.

End of Preview

John Fuller: Oh, many of us are just so very hurried, aren’t we? Today is Bring Your Bible to School Day here in the US. Uh, we’re gonna focus on the important of passing the baton of faith to our children. Thanks for joining us. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Our speaker, John, is Dan Seaborn and as we heard from that clip, he’s got a lot of energy and a lot of insights to share with us. In fact, we heard a message from Dan and his wife, Jane, recently describing the differences between men and women and how that impacts a marriage. That message was very well received, so we decided to bring you more of his energetic teaching.

John: (laughs) There you go. Dan is an author, former pastor and the founder and president of Winning at Home. And he and Jane have four adult children. They have six grandchildren. They live West Michigan. And here now is Dan Seaborn on Focus on the Family.

Audience: Applause.

Dan: It’s true that if I could have a mic that would like boom, and cover the whole globe, and God would hand it to me and turn it on and say, “Okay, Seaborn, I want you to share one message with the world.” I feel this is the message he has laid on my heart that I’d love the opportunity to do just that with, and I’m honored tonight to share it with you. It’s a little message called the Family Circle. It’s basically asking yourself the question, how do I make sure that the spiritual life cycle of my family carries on, and on, and on, and on. Just like you know, growing up, you saw the tadpole’s lifecycle and all that stuff. How do I make sure in my family that this knowledge of God continues on in my home? In our house, we have this little thing called the heigthometer, the Seaborn heigthometer. We measure how tall our children are every year on their birthday, or close to it, if they had remembered. We line our children up on the stick and we measured them. Did you guys do that growing up as kids in your house, like maybe, maybe not stick but on the wall? My parents did, they always like lined me up, you know, there’s certain spot on the wall and they would mark it. And then the next year, we’d go back and do it again. Well, we’ve moved a lot like six times, you know, one step ahead of the law kind of thing. And so we have this-

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: we have this kind of traveling stick that we keep in our sunshine room and we, we measure our children. You can see like Chrissy is, she’s coming up and Josh, he’s getting up to here now and Alan, he’s on up. And we even, our dog’s name is Air Jordan, we stretch him out and we mark him too. He’s, he’s getting bigger. We got grandpa on here, my dad. He was up here, and he’s been coming down the last few years. You know?

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: And I think we do a good job in our society of measuring the growth of our children. I think we do a good job of measuring the growth of ourselves. We watch it, we look at ourselves, but you know what I’m concerned about in our society, that we have failed to observe the spiritual growth of ourselves and our children the same as we measure the physical maturation and growth. I’ve got a dream that if the Lord tarries and there are Seaborn children 50 years from now, I have a dream that they will still say, I’m thankful for great, great, great, great, great, great-grandpa Dan, who passed on his faith to his family. That’s what I wanna be said about me. We’re all dying, you know, you might as well prepare for it. And so when we die, let’s make sure we leave to our children the things that really matter. There was a Psalm, Psalm 78, that’s my favorite song when it comes to talking about passing on your faith to your family. Psalm 78 is a mascle of Asaph. A mascle of means, uh, words of instruction, words of wisdom. Asaph was the chief musician of David. So Asaph would have sung that song, he would have turned it into a song like, you know, we sing the chorus, (singing) and you guys know the next phrase, exalted on high. Why don’t you know that? ‘Cause we’ve sung it. We sang in our churches, or we sang in our houses, we’ve listened to the choruses. And we learn those things. Music inspires us to learn and remember things. And so Asaph thinking this is incredible piece of wisdom that God’s given me. He said, “King David, can I turn this into a song and like, we’ll sing it?” David said, “Absolutely.” And so Asaph would have turned this into a musical song. That would have gone something like this, oh, my p-… No. “Oh my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from of old. Things we have heard and known.” Now, that’s about God, learning those things and teaching them. Things our fathers, critical word, things our fathers have told us, we will not hide them from their children. We will tell the next generation, the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children. So the next generation would know, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn, would tell their children, then they would put their trust in God, would not forget his deeds, but would keep his commands. Lord, I wanna ask right now, even as I begin to look intimately at this scripture, that you would inspire our hearts and our minds, to look at how we as a family can make sure the heritage of faith that has been passed on to us will be passed on to our children. Oh, God, please speak to us in these moments, and allow your spirit to work and to move, in Christ’s name. Amen. Now, I want you to imagine with me, if you could do this in your mind tonight, that on this stage with me is like this huge clock, just this massive clock, imagine that. And I want you to, in your mind, visualize four points with me, you know, good pastor gotta give you four points. I want you to imagine a point being put at 12 o’clock, and a point being put at three o’clock, and a point being put at six o’clock, and one at nine o’clock. And basically what you see there is this, this round, circular live cycle, if you will. And up at that 12 o’clock position, put in these words, we know, K-N-O-W, we know, first thing. What do we know? You know what we know? We know that God Almighty is the creator of this world. We know that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, the one who came to give us salvation, that we celebrate His resurrection on Easter. We know, listen to this, that somebody told us that and that’s why we believe that we’re Christians, because somebody has told us the good news of Jesus Christ. Do you understand? I get pumped on this point, do you understand, and do you realize how blessed we are as people to be able to sit here tonight and know that Jesus Christ is our Savior? Do you know there is a world who is lost and is dying and doesn’t know Christ as Savior? And how can we say here without saying, Lord, thank you for letting me know this good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is phenomenal, that He has given me that piece of truth. We know something incredible people. We know something beautiful, celebrate it, hang on to it.

Audience: Applause.

Dan: And this passage, and this passage specifically says to us fathers, fathers, pass it on. Because you see, when we know 12 o’clock, we must have a little arrow that draws itself down to three o’clock and we must, what I call, point two, we teach. If we know then we must teach because if we know and we just keep it in our mind and we never take advantage of the opportunity to pass it on to our family and to our neighborhood, what good is it? What good is knowledge if we never apply it? What good is knowledge if we never use it? Knowledge is only good when it is used and when we teach what we know.

John: You’re listening to Dan Seaborn on Focus on the Family. And we have his book Winning at Home available to you today for a gift of any amount to the ministry. We’ll also include a free audio download of the entire presentation when you donate, so please be generous and contribute at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Let’s go ahead and return now to more from Dan Seaborn.

Dan: That’s why this passage says to us in that second section, we will not hide this truth from our children. We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of Lord. Do you know how your children are gonna know that you love Jesus Christ? When you tell them. When they watch it in your life? I got a couple of little simple, simple practical principles I wanna apply to you on this one. Let me tell you some of the best way I think you’ll teach. If we know and we teach, let me tell you two simple ways to teach. Number one is this. Let your everyday life be a wonderful example. You know, you know, I, I use the Bible to teach for a living, is what I do for a living. I speak and I use God’s word and I share about God’s word. But do you know the best teaching I do in my home is not when I say, okay, children gather around your Holy Father, I’m going to read some more incredible words for you. Just lay there in my omnipotence. That doesn’t work.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: My kids will be like, “Get a clue.” Because I don’t teach them in my home by reading. Oh, we read God’s word, but I’m gonna tell you, the best way I teach is by living it in front of them, and that’s the hardest… See that’s harder than just reading it, then you gotta get in there and get all mucky and do it. One of my favorite teaching times happened with my little daughter, this, this is gonna go down I think in history as one of my favorite teaching times. Sometimes when I drive home from work and I pull up in the car, it’s kind of a little rule of thumb during the summer that I’ll blow the horn, and usually they’re out in the yard, but if they aren’t, they’ll come running out. And they like to drive the car into the garage or into the driveway with me, and so I let them get in the car and we drive up together. And on this one particular day, I drove home from the office dressed, you know, in my office outfit, and I got to the driveway, and I pulled up, and my little daughter said, “Daddy, daddy, stop the car. Stop the car.” And I said, you know, roll the window down, “Baby, no, I need to, I need to get in the driveway. I need to park the car.” “Daddy, stop the car, put it in park. Get out of the car.” “Why?” And she said, “Cause I wanna twace you.” Twace, that’s her word. Trace. Okay, trace. She had sidewalk chalk in her hand, and she wanted me to come up in the driveway and lay down so she could twace me. All right.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: So I put the car in park, and I said, “Baby, I need, I wanna…” “Come on down, I wanna twace you.” So I got out of the car, turned it off. I said, “What do you wanna do?” She said, “Come up here and lay down.” Well, I walked up into my driveway. It looked like a murder scene. She’d been tracing people.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: She had been tracing people all day. I could tell that was mama ’cause it was a nice trace. And then there was other people all around. I’m starting to think I can get into this trace, you know, um. So she said, “Come over here and lay down.” So I lay down. And I go all the way down on my back just, yeah, seriously, just like this in my nice clothes. And she starts tracing. She got around my arm. She got up here. She made my head bigger than it is, but she got it.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: And all of a sudden, I’m laying on the floor and I see a monarch butterfly fluttering through a tree over here. And I said, “Look over in the tree baby.” She said, “Get your arm down.” So I went back down.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: And I said, “Look in the tree baby.” She said, “What is it?” I said, “It’s a monarch butterfly. Look up there.” She said, “I see it daddy.” She was about four or five. I said to her, “Who made that butterfly?” And she said, without a speck of hesitation, she said, “God made it, daddy.” I said, “That’s right, baby.” I looked over here, there was a squirrel. For some reason Lord just gave me animals, you know. I had to be there might as well enjoy the creation.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: So I, I looked over. I said, “Hey baby, look over there, there’s a squirrel. Who made that squirrel?” And she said, “Well, God did, daddy.” And I said, “That’s right, baby. God did.” Then you say Dan, why is that significant? I’ll tell you why. Because in the public high schools across America, people are being told, you know, the squirrel is an animal that once emaciated with the muskrat mole, and then slowly the molecular molecules begin to change formation and evolved. And it went under the water and all of a sudden out of this molecular, mulaki, moluki, a bunch of malarkey is what it is.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: All of a sudden, this little rat, yeah. All of a sudden, this little, this little, you know, rat became a squirrel. The squirrel became an owl, an owl became a lion, and the lion became a monkey, and the monkey became me. That is just ab-… another great word, stupidity. That’s what it is. All right. And it blows my mind that in the school this theory, mm-hmm, is taught. And I want you to know something, that in my home I want my daughter to know that that butterfly was made by God. It was not made by some dumb, something turning. It was made by God. That squirrel was made by God. That tree with all those big mushy… that tree was made by God, that grass grows because God made it grow. And I want my children to know that, and we gotta be teaching, ’cause listen, you know who else lives in your neighborhood besides your own children? Little children who are being told that and their parents aren’t telling them any different, so you gotta make sure they know God did this stuff. It is not an accident. Let your life teach that.

Audience: Yeah. (Applause)

Dan: And then secondly, secondly, you gotta be willing to teach at every age and stage of life. You know, I’m in what they supposedly call the prime. Doesn’t feel very prime. Phew! Let me just tell you, I feel like he’s a prime rib on a grill sometime.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: My grandfather supposedly is in his twilight years. I say, he’s in this most significant teaching years of his life. About two years ago, we went to visit him. I keep his little hat in my office. If you walked into my office, you would see. His name is Jay. He wrote it right in his hat, so he wouldn’t forget it. He took it off, “I’m Jay.” Yeah, you know, I mean.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: But (laughs) I keep this little hat on the first shelf. When you walk into my office, you will see it along with his Bible, several other men and my mother’s Bible, my father’s Bible, several great mementos. But this gentleman was my main teacher. And I went to visit him with my family a few summers back, we went to his nursing home room. Again, my point, teach at all ages and stages of life. He’s in a nursing home room in South Carolina, make that transition. We went into the nursing home room, it was my wife, Jane, and our four children. We walk into the nursing home room, again, you know what that’s like. We walked in. I said, “Grandpa.” I had to yell ’cause grandpa can’t hear. “Grandpa, Danny, here to visit you.” That’s my real name, Danny. It’s Danny, I’m here to visit you.” Well, he’s laying in his nursing home bed and the first thing he does is sit up, “Who, who, who is it? Who is it?” I said, “Grandpa, Danny.” “Ooh, Danny boy, Danny boy, Danny boy, Danny boy.” Down south you can do that and it’s like legal. People think it’s cool. Up here you go, Danny boy, Danny boy, people think you’re a freak, but it’s cool to do that.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: So my grandpa sat up on that Danny boy, Danny boy. And then he said, “Who you got with you?” I said, “Grandpa, my family. Here’s Jane and…” Oh, he loves Jane. And he goes, “Whose children are them?” And I said, “Grandpa, my children.” He said, “No, it’s not.” I said, “Yes, it is, grandpa.” He said, “No, it’s not.” He said, “Them is my children. Do you think them kids would be here if it wasn’t for me?” (laughs) “That’s pretty good, pretty good.”

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: Then he offers them, he always offers them candy, but it’s like, you know those peppermint sticks you get at Christmas? He always pulls those down and offers it to the kids, but what he can’t see, can’t see very good, he’s already suck one end of them.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: So, yeah, they got like that nice candy stripe and then white the rest of the way. And he’ll go here children, and of course, they’re like, “No, that’s okay.” He always says to me, “What’s wrong with their kids? They don’t like candy?” And I’m thinking to myself, “If you could see this stuff,” you know.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: And he’d talk with us for a little while. We had a good time. And all of a sudden, he said, “Boy.” Oh, he’s calling me boy. “Boy.” “Yes, sir, grandpa.” I always said yes, sir to him. He said, “Can you get your family out of my room for a minute?” I said, “What?” Goes, “Get them out of the room.” I said, “Grandpa, my, my wife…” “Get them out of the room.” And I looked at my wife, I said, “I don’t know. Maybe he’s gonna give me the early will. I don’t know. Just get the kids and get on out of the room.” So they got out of the room. He’s sitting on the edge of his bed. Said, “Come here, Danny. Come here boy.” I walked over to him, and he grabbed me right here. Right here. And he pulled me out real close. He said, “Boy.” I said “Yes, sir, grandpa.” “Boy, have you told your kids about Jesus?” “Well, yes, sir, grandpa.” “Boy, did you tell him he loves him?” “Yes, sir, grandpa. I told them.” “Like I told you?” “Yes, sir, grandpa.” He went, “Ooh.”

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: Listen, he lay back on his bed. He fell back on his bed crying and saying, “Good boy, you did it boy. That’s the most important thing, boy.” And he reached back up and he grabbed me and pulled me over on the bed-

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: with him. I’m laying on top of him with his arms around me thinking, oh, Lord, don’t let a nurse walk in.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: And I’m laying here with my grandpa on his chest, crying like a baby. I’m crying and he’s crying like a baby. And I get up off of him. And neither one of us could speak ’cause we’re crying so hard. And I said, “Grandpa, I gotta go.” He said, “Okay.” And I said everybody’s out in the van. “I love you, grandpa.” “Love you too, boy.” “See you grandpa.” See you, Danny.” And I went out to his door, and I pull it to where there was just a slight crack, and I could see him laying in the bed. And on this particular day, God gave me a family moment, because out the window of the exit door, I could see my children already in the van with Jane playing. I’m sitting here looking at my grandfather through a little crack in the door, and I glance over and see my kids jumping all around in his van waiting for that 13-and-a-half-hour trip back home.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: And I said to the Lord, “Lord, when I’m laying in the nursing home bed someday, if time allows, would you let one of my kids stand here?” And look through the slot and say, boy, Grandpa Danny was a good one. He taught me about God and he… Grandpa, I wanna go teach them about God. You know, grandpa was 87 when he told me that. Now, aren’t you supposed to teach when you’re like 30s and 40s. He’s 87 and he’s got me spellbound with teaching right here. I’m going God, I wanna be that man. I wanna do that, God. I want my kids to stand here someday and not wanna close the door ’cause they don’t wanna quit looking at me ’cause I’ve been such a hero to them. Man, that’s where it’s at. I wanna be that kind of dad. I want to make sure that no matter the age or stage I get to, I keep teaching about Jesus Christ. Well, you think I like that. Every once in a while, in my office, roll over and pick up his old hat. I remember not long ago; I was going through a tough situation. I rolled my office chair over and I picked his hat up. I don’t always do this, but on this particular day, I said, “Lord, what would grandpa do here? You know, what would Jesus do? Well, Him and what would grandpa do?” They were really close.

Audience: (laughing)

Dan: What grandpa do? And grandpa’s passed on now. I remember the first Sunday I preached. I used his Bible first Sunday after he’d passed away. I did it not only to honor him, but it was the first-time grandpa ever heard me preach because he’s in heaven looking down and seeing. And, uh, he taught me a lot at the age of 87. Don’t you ever stop teaching. See, when we know… Oh, I’m so thankful for a grandpa who didn’t go, well, I know. He opened his mouth and said, and I think I’ll teach. ‘Cause you see when we know and we teach, let me go to six o’clock, you’re ready? When we know and we teach, they know. There it is. There’s the transition. Dan Seaborn is standing on this stage, sharing this message with you right now because Grandpa said I know and I’m gonna teach that boy. And now I sit here and say now I know. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. Not because of my grandpa, no, but he told me about it. My mom told me about it. And if they hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t be here.

John: And we’ll have to, uh, interrupt Dan Seaborn right there on today’s Focus on the Family. And we’ll hear the rest of this inspirational message next time.

Jim: John, I mean, I teared up listening to Dan talk about his grandfather, and that wonderful faith that they shared. And as you know, I really didn’t have any extended family. I think our family tree was really a family bush.

John: Hmm.

Jim: When I lost my mom and dad, there were just, there were no grandparents, no aunts and uncles, cousins, no one. It was just me and the four siblings. And yet we did have neighbors, we called them grandma and grandpa Hope. Uh, they would take us to church at Christmas and Easter. And they stood alongside my mom’s bedside as she was dying from cancer and said to her, “Jan, do you know who Jesus Christ is?” And my mom knew the basics of the faith. She taught us the golden rule, but she, you know, she had no real relationship with Jesus. And that wonderful little family, the Hope family, God’s sense of humor, right? The Hope’s letter to the Lord, and that started a domino effect. And all five of us, at different times, have come to know who Jesus is and committed our lives to Him. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect people, it just means we have made that fundamental decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that legacy has started for us. And that’s how the family of God can work. He connects people that might not be biologically related, like our family with the Hopes’. So let me encourage you to ask God if there’s someone you could reach out to, perhaps a single mom in your neighborhood, and create a friendship that could lead to sharing the gospel and starting that legacy of faith for the next generation.

John: I appreciate that, Jim. And I think it probably begins with just a posture of Lord, who do you have in my sphere today that I can talk to and develop that relationship with?

Jim: And a great way to start every morning asking that question of the Lord. If Focus on the Family can help you in any way, please get in touch with us. We are here to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and support marriages and help build strong families and protect pre-born life, those with disabilities and the elderly. We are a nonprofit ministry, and we’d welcome your financial support as well. And when you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you Dan Seaborn’s latest book called Winning at Home: Tackling the Topics That Confuse Kids and Scare Parents. It offers a faith-based perspective on the complex topics we’re seeing in our culture today. So get your copy from Focus.

John: And when you do, uh, the proceeds, go right back into ministry. And we’ll, uh, also extend our thanks by including the free audio download of Dan’s entire presentation so you can listen to it again maybe with a friend or family member. You’ll find all the details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast or call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. This reminder that when you’re online with us, we have a link to our Live It Challenge which is a great way for you to learn more about incorporating biblical values into the daily life and rhythms of your family. A lot of practical details about doing that, again, look for the link to Live It Challenge on our website. Well, next time you’ll hear more encouragement from Dan Seaborn.

Preview:

Dan Seaborn: You dads who are 100 plus years old, don’t you go to your grave before you tell your children that you love them, and you believe in them, and you want them to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t you let it happen.

End of Preview

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

Today's Guests

Winning at Home Book Cover

Winning At Home: Tackling the Topics that Confuse Kids and Scare Parents

Receive the book Winning At Home and the audio download of the broadcast "Leaving a Legacy of Faith " for your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Organizing the Chaos in Your Home

Kristi Clover, mother of 5, shares quick and simple tips to bring joy into your home by getting more organized. From clearing the clutter to choosing your top priorities, you’ll learn some techniques to make housework easy and fun for the whole family!

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Encouraging Your Kids to Discuss Their Feelings

Feelings can be confusing for children to experience and express. In this upbeat message, Dr. Joshua Straub will equip you to create a safe environment in your home, so that your children can express what they are feeling and learn how to manage their emotions.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Walking With God Through Trials (Part 2 of 2)

Michele Cushatt shares her story of walking through difficult times and how faithful God was throughout. She explores ten practices—concepts such as lament, humility, contentment, and perspective—that will help you build and strengthen your faith so you can weather those stressful seasons with God. (Part 2 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

Larnelle Harris shares stories about how God redeemed the dysfunctional past of his parents, the many African-American teachers who sacrificed their time and energy to give young men like himself a better future, and how his faithfulness to godly principles gave him greater opportunities and career success than anything else.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

Amy Carroll shares how her perfectionism led to her being discontent in her marriage for over a decade, how she learned to find value in who Christ is, not in what she does, and practical ways everyone can accept the messiness of marriage and of life.