Focus on the Family Broadcast

Leaving a Legacy of Faith (Part 2 of 2)

Leaving a Legacy of Faith (Part 2 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 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: September 7, 2011


Jim Daly: Hey, this is Jim Daly, and before we begin today’s Focus on the Family broadcast, I wanted to spend a- a few minutes talking with our good friend, Morgan Weistling. Morgan is the amazing artist who’s been working with Focus for several years now, creating these wonderful paintings with a powerful family and faith message. And his newest painting is one of the best I’ve seen yet. Hey, Morgan, it’s great to talk with you from California. How are ya?

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Morgan Weistling: Good, Jim. How are you doing?

Jim: I’m doing well, man. This painting, it just captures everything. And I- I love it. Uh, describe this new painting for us.

Morgan: Well, um, it’s a scene of, uh, a family at bedtime. And it’s a, uh, mother and a father putting their children to bed, something that we could all relate to, and it’s set in a very humble setting of a, uh, a cabin, a pioneer cabin. In the middle of, uh, the painting here is a bed. And it is, uh, filled with two children, and it’s a two-year-old and a four-year-old, a little boy, and a little girl. And, uh, this is, uh, prayer time. And, um, the little boy has got his hands in kinda prayer mode. But that- not quite getting it right yet.

Jim: (laughs)

Morgan: And his eyes are still looking at mom. So, they’re out of sync. So, it’s exactly what like usually happens in real life. (laughs)

Jim: Yeah, it’s so true.

Morgan: Not the perfect, uh, thing. And the father is standing behind, next to the- the wife, and, uh, his hand is resting on her back, and he’s holding a candle that’s illuminating this entire scene going on. And, uh, the warm light is cascading across the bed into- onto the children’s faces. And they’ve all lit up by this one candle. And then behind the father is a window that’s still open, and it’s, uh, evening, but it’s a stormy night. You can see rain kind of cascading down, um, on the window. And so, you can get a sense that there’s a storm outside.

Jim: Yeah.

Morgan: So that’s the entire scene, you know, of the painting. But you gotta see it to really, uh… (laughs)

Jim: Oh, definitely. I know.

Morgan: … appreciate it.

Jim: And I hope people go and take a look at the website, or wherever they can get a chance to take a look at it. Let- let me touch on the- the title, What Matters Most. I was just talking to someone the other day. You know, you look at tombstones. It’s never, “He was a great executive vice president at the bank. It, “He was a loving husband, and a good father.” Something like that. Which again, is exactly what’s depicted in the painting. Uh, speak to the title, What Matters Most.

Morgan: The whole idea of- of our- passing down our faith to the next generation. It’s a generational thing that we have a moment in time, as- as a family, as- as a- as parents, to pass what’s matters most to us to our children, before they absolutely don’t want to listen to us anymore. (laughs) So this is a moment in time that I’ve captured when we really need to be thinking about that, you know, what are we modeling, and what are we passing down? Not just, say your prayers at night. But our overall faith of what we base on our lives on now as Christians.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Morgan: And there’s so much going on around us, that, like, I- I put the storm in the painting that’s behind, that- that little bit of touch of what’s going on outside. As Christians, that’s how I feel as a parent. There’s- there’s a storm outside all the time. And, um, you’ve got to cling to Christ every day and show your family, show your children, this is what we do. And, um, pass that along. You know, pass down our… the grace we know, and the- and the love we know from Christ. We love because He loved us first. We forgive because He forgave us first. We have to model that. This is the time to do it.

Jim: No, it’s so good, and… But, uh, Morgan, again, we are so blessed to be working with you. And we are honored to have that privilege. And thank you for picking up from G. Harvey, Gerald Jones, who did this with us for years. And the great news is, people when they, uh, purchase the print, which is available, and we do this at Christmas, uh, going into the fall. Um, you know, you pick up the print that Morgan has offered. And the key thing here, folks, he’s doing this benevolently. Uh, I so appreciate his heart for ministry. All the proceeds go right back into helping marriages, helping save a baby’s life. I mean, that’s what we’re about. That’s what Morgan and his family are about. And together, uh, you can get a great print of this wonderful painting. And also do ministry. It’s a win-win-win for everybody.

So, uh, check it out the, uh, website, or give us a call here at Focus on the Family to get your copy of this beautiful, beautiful painting. And you can go to our website, Or call us at 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.

Morgan, great to talk with you. Thank you so much for all your labor, your labor of love, and this beautiful painting that you’ve put together. What a- what a masterpiece. Thank you so much.

Morgan: Thank you again, Jim, for letting me be a part of Focus on the Family again. Pastor Dan Seaborn: I’m gotta dream that if the Lord tarries, and there are Seaborn children 50 years 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 want to 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.

Jim: Well, that is the heart of it all. And when we die, those final moments, that last breath, what we’re gonna be thinking about is, will our kids carry the faith forward? Will they meet us in heaven one day? What else is going to matter at that point?

John Fuller: That really is the essence of this message that we are continuing today on Focus on the Family. With Focus president Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, and this really is a thought provoking, um, and energetic message from Dan Seaborn.

Jim: It sure is, John. Uh, last time, Dan shared with us the importance of being deliberate about passing our faith to our children. And he’s using an analogy from the study of biology about the lifestyle and about how reproduction occurs. And the question is, are we reproducing our faith? Are we passing it on to our children? And if you missed part one of Dan’s presentation, please get in touch with us. Uh, we can send you the entire message on CD or audio download, or you can get the Focus on the Family app for your smartphone.

John: All the details are at Or call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

Jim: Dan Seaborn is a much sought-after speaker, former pastor, and the author of Winning at Home: Tackling the Topics that Confuse Kids and Scare Parents. And you can get a copy from us directly, where the proceeds go right back into ministry.

John: And here now is Dan Seaborn on Focus on the Family.

Dan: How do you know they know? I mean, how can you tell when your children are learning a God and really know about God? Well, I kinda have this simple little equation. When they start imitating Jesus Christ. When you see ’em do something that looks like Jesus, say, “Hey, hey!” They know. 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, “Stop, no, boo, boo, boo, boo.” Man, you know what we need to do in our families more often? Celebrate when we see Jesus. When our children do something that looks like Christ, stop, and have, like, family applause and say, “That looked good. Do that again.” If we would affirm that behavior more often, I think that our children would be more positive, and try to be like Christ. We have a little rule in our home. No matter where I’m at, if I’m at the office or whatever. Jane usually knows. And if our children do anything at home that’s like Jesus, the rule is, call Dad.

So, she will. She’ll just out of the blue. This is exactly what’ll happen. She will call me up. She’ll say, “Dan, I know you’re in the busy meeting or whatever.” I said, “No problem, what is it?”

“Well, today, so and so, they- they did this.” And I say, “Put them on the phone.” That’s my phrase. They’ll get the kid on the phone, and I’ll say, “You know what?” Say one of the kids names. “You know what?”

“What, dad?”

“Do you know who you remind me of when you do that?” They know what I’m gonna say in the next line, but they always say, “Who, Dad?”

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: And I say to them, “Hey, son, or daughter, that reminds me of what Jesus would do. And Daddy is real proud. I’m proud of you. You hear that? I love you.”

“Love you too, Dad.”

“I’ll see you when I get home, and I’ll give you a big high five.”

“Okay, Dad.”

“All right, bye-bye.”

“Bye-bye.” Boom. Why? Because I want my kids to know I’m proud of them when they act like Jesus. I want my wife to say, “Dan, I’m proud of you, act like Jesus.” We all need that affirmation. There is no one to imitate better than Jesus. And when we see each other doing it, as in the family, our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we need to… Instead of being jealous, we need to celebrate that somebody else is acting like Jesus Christ.

So when… So, when we know, and when we teach, and then they know. They, of course, they teach. See, that keeps the spiritual cycle of the family going. It’s been interesting for me because you’ve obviously heard me talk about my grandfather a lot. You say, “Dan, you don’t talk about your dad very often.” You know? With all due respect to my father, we did not have the greatest relationship growing up. My mother was a prayer warrior, a wonderful woman, godly woman who prayed for me on Saturday mornings, right outside my bedroom window. Drove me crazy.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: But she prayed for me every Saturday morning early, early, and every day, I’m sure. But that particular day, she chose to do it out loud by my bedroom window, ’cause that was the day I like to sleep in.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: My father and I, you know, didn’t really mesh. And I- I looked at that circle and I thought, “Man, oh, man. It hurts me that he’s not, in my mind, really connecting with me in that circle.” It- it hurts me that it was grandpa, and then, uh, with dad, it was really tough. Man, I wish my dad would have been in the circle.

The Lord spoke to me during a Family Life Conference and said, “Dan, it’s time for you to make it right with your dad.” And I went to the fourth floor seminary, Western Seminary, little place I like to study, a fourth floor window. My little “Upper Room,” I call it. And I was looking out at the cross on the Hope College church. And I penned these thoughts to my father that I said, “Lord, wisdom, help me write this.”

“Hi, Dad. I know you don’t usually get letters from me. But I think it’s about time you did. I’m sitting in my favorite little spot at the library in town, where I love to study. And as I sit here, I find myself recalling a lot of childhood memories. Remember that time James Porter,” (my dad’s good friend), “was playing football with us, Billy, my brother, trying to jump over him. And he caught my brother in there. Remember that, Dad? That was fun. And I can still remember the time you painted my basketball goal and ripped the rim down trying to help me, and it drove me crazy.”

“Dad, I got a lot of good memories about stuff you did. And then, Dad, I have some that aren’t so fun too. But I’m thankful that both of us have God’s full forgiveness for the things that we both probably wish had never occurred. But the main reason I’m writing you today, Dad, is to let you know I love you. I have always wanted you to be proud of me. I know it’s not like you to say that kind of stuff, but I can tell you love me. And I believe that you believe in me. And I want you to know, I believe in you too, Dad. I love to see the closeness you and Mom are having now. You look like two kids sometimes, and I love it. I’m thankful for the fact that you stayed together, even when it got tough.”

I write a few more things. Some too personal to say here, and then I said, “Dad, please keep praying for me. I will always seek to love and follow Christ. Thank you for teaching me discipline and hard work and service,” ’cause he did that. “I’m convinced those ingredients helped make me the man the Lord has made me today. I pray this little letter makes your heart bubble over with joy, Dad. It does mine just to write it. I love you, Dad. And I’m glad you’re mine.” And I signed it, “Danny.”

John: Dan Seaborn on Focus on the Family. And this reminder that he has a great book. It’s called Winning at Home. And we’ve got that here at the ministry.

Uh, make a generous donation of any amount to Focus on the Family today, and we’ll send that book to you and include a free audio download of the entire presentation as well. You can donate and request those and other resources at Or 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

Let’s go ahead and hear more now from Dan Seaborn on Focus on the Family.

Dan: I folded the letter up. I didn’t let anyone read it. And I put it in an envelope, and I mailed it to my dad on, like, a Monday. My parents call me every Saturday or Sunday. I couldn’t wait for Saturday or Sunday. Dad’s gonna call. He’s gonna be pumped. We’re gonna be like high school pals. Saturday came, no phone call. I thought, “Man, he’s getting excited. He’s waiting for Sunday worship. That’ll get him pumped, and then he’ll call me.” Sunday came, they called Sunday afternoon. My mom first. “Hey, Danny.”

“Hey, Mom.” Typical mom to son conversation. “Danny, I’m so proud of you, the greatest son in the world. Nobody’s ever preached like you. You’re the best son. I’ve never seen a kid that good looking.” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: Thank you, Mom, thank you, Mom. Ditto. Make it ditto, make it ditto. “Son, Dad wants to talk to you.”

“Okay. Hey, Dad.”

“Hey, son.”

“How you doing this week, Dad?”


“Anything exciting happen, Dad?”

“Nope. Pretty much the same stuff, son.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah. Everybody doing okay?” I hear my voice die. “Yeah. Hey Dad, thank you guys for calling.”

“Okay, see ya.” I’m… It was like my heart went from here to here. And I went in my room. I cried over that a good bit. Said to Jane, “I bet the postal service didn’t get it there. That’s what it is.” Next, you wait till next weekend. So, I lived through the next week, waiting, hear from Dad. Saturday, no call. Sunday. “Hey, Mom.”

“Hey, son. Son, you’re the greatest speaker ever. Blah, blah, blah. You’re the wonderful… I never seen a kid like you. My grandkids are beautiful. Ah, ah, yeah.”

“Love you too, Mom. You are something else. Send some money.”

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: “Okay, Mom, Dad there?”

“Yeah, here he is.”

“Hey, Dad.”

“Hey, son.”

“Did you have a good week?”


“Anything big?”

“No, same old stuff as last week.”


“Everybody doing good?”


“Oh, good. Bye-bye.” You know how that aches? That kills. So, I want this circle to include Dad. And so, a few more days passed. I came home from a speaking engagement, as I recall. I was laying on the couch, out in the sunshine room, and Jane was just talking with me. Just sharing a little fun stuff together, and the phone rang. It wasn’t a Saturday or Sunday. I remember that. Jane came in with the cordless phone and said, “Honey, it’s your parents.” I said, “Really? What’s up with that?” She goes, “I don’t know. They’re calling during the week.” I said, “Cool.”

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: So, they… It’s Mom. “Greatest kid in the world. Blah, blah, blah.” You know, you know.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: She finishes the whole spiel, and then I heard another phone come on the line. Now, Mom and Dad have gone and got themself a two-phone connection.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: You gotta know for Six Mile, South Carolina, that’s like being on the world wide web. All right? You are, like-

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: Woo. Big time. This is big stuff. I got Mom on this line, and Dad on… Whoa! “Hey, Mom. Hey, Dad. You there?”


“Both of you?”

“Yeah.” My mom talks for a while, and then I heard her put her hand over her receiver and say, “Joe.” That’s his name. “Don’t you forget to mention that letter you got from that boy.”

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: Get him, Ma.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: So, so I said, “Dad, you there?”


“Did you have a good week?”

“Oh, I had a good week.”

“Anything neat happen?”

“Oh, about the same.” And then he said, “Boy.”

“Yeah, Dad?”

“I got that letter you sent me.”

“You- you did, Dad? Did you like it?” He said, “I liked it, boy.” He said, “I want you to know I took it, and I put it in my box of most valuable possessions.”

“You did, Dad?”

“I did, son.”



“I love you.”

“I love you too, boy.”

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: “Bye, guys.”


“Jane. You know what Dad said? He said he put them in a box with, like, valuable stuff. What else does he got in that box?” I was like…

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: “Where’s this box?”

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: Dad, when you watch this video, leave in your will where that box is. I want to see it. Man. It was like all of a sudden, all the pain that I carried for years went, like, “Woo, Dad loves me! He put me in his box! He got on my circle!” And I tell you this little story tonight because I want you to know that you might be 65, and you say, “Dad, I didn’t teach what I know.” Don’t stop! Do you know how special it is at the age of 37, 36, whatever I was, at that age to find out that your Dad loves you and cares about you?

You dads who are a 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.

Audience: (Loud and long applause)

It… it is never too late to start teaching. I’ll tell you some of my funnest moments right now are when just a few days ago, we left my little home in Six Mile, and my dad cries all the way over to where he’s walking to hug me goodbye. And I put my arms around him, and I go, “What? This old dude does know how to hug.” And this dude, ohhhh, at his age, he’s even a little softer.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: And I know a lot of people have prayed for me that Dad and I would restore our relationship. And you know who you are, and you’ve prayed a long time. But it’s- it’s coming. I can tell the grandkids, “Hey, he’s in the circle.” Hoo hoo, woo hoo, woo hoo. Sorry, I’m Southern. Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: And one day, we get to that big family reunion in the sky. I believe it’s gonna look a lot like- like this little Russian doll. Lit- little children that we’ve raised will be tucked inside this thing that we call family, that God gave to us. And they’re all unique, man. They’re all different colors, all different- all different personalities, you know what I’m saying?

And God’s gonna say, “Okay, Dan Seaborn. Your turn. Hand it up.” And I’m gonna go over, and I’m gonna say, “Oh, Lord, Lord, Jane’s got some nicks on her, and I did that, I’m sorry, Lord. I- I failed her many times. And Lord, look, all the way down, all my children. I wasn’t perfect. I messed up. But Lord, I wanna- I want you to check me out. Evaluate my life. See if when it was my turn to teach, Lord, how did I do?”

I’m gonna tell you something now. When my grandpa’s, like, up in that head of the line, you know? Like, up there. His name’s Jay. When he’s up there.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: When he’s up there, and when he has to, like, hand his up, like that. I’m gonna probably be back over there somewhere. I’m gonna go, “Boy, God. Look at that one. That homeboy, he knew how to do it. Now you get that thing and look at it, man.” Tell my grandpa, “Get your arm up a little higher. God.” You know, and I’m almost like, “Go, grandpa.” ‘Cause hoo, he hit a home run with his life. And I- I- I… Oh, would I love when I stand on the edge with me and Jane, I’d love to hear some little grandkids and great grandkids going, “Go on, God. Look at grandpa dance.” Wouldn’t that be to say, “Oh, let me hear of the screams of those little grandkids in the background?” Hoo, wee.

I’d throw it up to God. ‘Cause I’ll be so excited that my family is behind me. Because when it was my turn, I passed it right on to ’em. And every one of us sitting in this auditorium tonight. You know what stage we’re in? We teach. If you- if you’re not dead, you teach.

Audience: (laughs)

Dan: Go do it, okay? Go do it. Go- go give all you got for the glory of God. So that when it’s your turn, you can do it. Say, “I made a difference for Christ.”

John: And that’s where we’ll have to end today’s presentation from Dan Seaborn on Focus on the Family.

Jim: I love the word picture Dan gave us there, John, of presenting our lives and our family to the Lord in heaven for His inspection. That’s intimidating. And if you want that moment to be a good one, uh, we need to concentrate on ordering our priorities well. We need to spend time with our kids. We need to keep the eternal things first. And it is so important to applaud the good things that your children do. Catch them doing something right. And if we’re busy and distracted, head down on our phone, or watching TV, we’re not gonna notice godly behavior. We need to engage with our children, to nurture those good things, those godly attributes.

And we also need to remember that our kids are watching us. And act accordingly. They will model our behavior much more than we might like. (laughs)

John: That is so true. And certainly, um, this has been time well spent, thinking through legacy and long-term goals for our parenting. And I trust our listeners have been encouraged to get beyond the challenges of the day, and, uh, all the little things that tend to weigh us down as moms and dads. Uh, lift up your eyes and look down the road, and, uh, and look toward passing that baton of faith on.

Jim: Wow, that’s well said. And let me encourage you to get a copy of Dan Seaborn’s newest book. It’s called Winning at Home: Tackling the Topics That Confuse Kids and Scare Parents. In the book, Dan teams up with credentialed members of the Winning at Home staff to provide a faith-based perspective on some of our culture’s most complex topics, like mental health, interpersonal relationships, and successfully parenting adult children.

Get your copy from us here at Focus on the Family, where the proceeds go right back into our ministry to help more families thrive in Christ. We’ll send the book to you when you make a donation of any amount, as our way of saying thank you.

John: Yeah, and unlike other book sellers, we include a free audio download of Dan Seaborn’s entire presentation, when you get the book from us. So please, donate generously online, and request those resources at Or when you have us on the phone. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Have a great weekend and be sure to join us on Monday for insight, wisdom, and encouragement for grandparents.


Mrs. Chrys Howard: They can come in and imbue some strength. And this is what we can do as grandparents. So, we’re kinda on the sidelines. We’re ready, we’re suited up. If you need me, Mom and Dad, we’re here. But when we- when we’re called up, when they blow the whistle or whatever, they call us in. We’re fresher. You know, we’re not, like, embedded in the nuts and bolts of the raising the kids. And so we can come with fresh strength.

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Today's Guests

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

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