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Remembering the Pilgrims’ Journey

Remembering the Pilgrims’ Journey

Law professor Jay Milbrandt offers a fascinating look at the Pilgrims' flight to North America from religious persecution in a discussion based on his book They Came for Freedom: The Forgotten, Epic Adventure of the Pilgrims.
Original Air Date: November 22, 2018

Preview:

Radio Theatre Actor as Governor Bradford: Almighty God, we thank You for the sustaining grace of Your love and provision through our Savior Jesus Christ. We thank You for the bounty of fellowship, which allows us to share in the food You have given to us. May we receive it with grateful hearts.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That prayer is an excerpt from Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre episode, “The Legend of Squanto,” which really captures the spirit and thankful heart of the Pilgrims who traveled to North America. Their purpose was to begin a new colony and to escape religious persecution. And we’re gonna talk a little bit more about that today on our broadcast. Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to Focus on the Family. Your host is Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, you know, it’s so easy in culture to forget kind of the origins of these holidays that we celebrate. And you know, we get busy. I’m sure many moms and dads right now are busy. Dads got his to-do list: clean up stuff before the family gets over and you know, the cooking the turkey and doing all those things. And we can forget. We think Thanksgiving is about football and family and pumpkin pie. And that’s all-good stuff. But what is the true origin of Thanksgiving? And it’s going to be quite a discussion we have today, when we peel back the history – the actual history – of Thanksgiving and remind all of us what it was about.

John: And Jay Milbrandt is our guest today. He’s a professor at Bethel University in Minnesota. And he really has researched the story. He’s got a personal interest in it. We’ll hear more about that. He’s written a great book called, They Came for Freedom: The Forgotten, Epic Adventure of the Pilgrims.

Jim: Jay, welcome to Focus.

Jay Milbrandt: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Jim: Yeah, what a great day to spend a little time together, remembering and giving thanks for the founding, really, the beginning of the nation and what happened in that – in that sense.

Jay: Absolutely. It’s – it’s the story of where we came from.

Jim: Now let’s start there. You have a background in law, which is great, but you also have that connection of family members. What is that connection?

Jay: Well part of our family lore was that we were the descendant of two of the Mayflower Pilgrims. And so, I was pretty interested in this, and you know, kind of what does that mean for me, personally. And so, I took an interest, one, to find out who – who are they now. It was sort of a – sort of a discouraging discovery after I went a little deeper because they weren’t actually the Pilgrims that came for religious purposes. One was an indentured servant. The other was the hired mercenary, if you will, to protect them. And so unfortunately, they weren’t the ones who came on account of their religious persecution.

Jim: Hey, they’re still on the ship.

Jay: But they were still on the boat.

(LAUGHTER)

John: They made it, yeah.

Jay: They were still on the boat. But it was still an interesting discovery, and what was that about? And really, what I wanted to explore was that religious persecution question. And as a lawyer, I wanted to explore, you know, what’s the evidence that that – that that took place, and what did that mean for them?

Jim: And that’s what prompted you to write the book, is that it?

Jay: That’s right.

Jim: Just that curiosity?

Jay: That’s right. And finding that, you know, as I went and wanted to learn more about my story, reading books on the history of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving that they mention this nugget of there was some religious freedom component to it, but everyone sort of glossed over it and never really gave it – gave it any time to explore.

Jim: Let’s describe the Pilgrims. I mean, some of us, again, that’s a distant memory, that’s distant history. We may have learned about it in fourth or fifth grade. Who knows when? Who were the Pilgrims? What was it about?

Jay: Yeah, well, they were really more, probably, separatists. They were a group of people that wanted to worship in the way that they – they read the Bible – and they saw fit, and they didn’t want to worship in the way that it was prescribed by the Anglican church. So, they were this group of people, mostly lived in the rural English setting. And, um…

Jim: What would that prescription be just to, again, to set that out? What was – it was King James. He was the one in authority – the King James Bible King James. So, what was he doing and decreeing that made them so uncomfortable?

Jay: Well, they were really using the church at that time as a – as a way to control people and to – to tax people. You know, church services were in Latin, so you couldn’t really understand them. They had a prescribed order of service. They had prescribers. Everything was prescribed and mandated. And if you didn’t follow what they mandated, you know, there was jail time, fines…

John: Seriously.

Jay: …and potentially even death, if you didn’t comply. And so, you had a group of people who said, “We actually – we’re reading the Bible” – they got hold of the Geneva Bible – “And it doesn’t say what we’re being told, you know. We think that there’s more to this and that there’s a personal relationship here.”

Jim: Yeah, and in that context – think about that – in that prescription that they were following, that the leadership of England at the time, King James, it was mandated that they go to Sunday services, it was mandated that they do certain things during the week, all with this kind of a Christian overtone, but coming from the government. That’s key to understanding what the Founding Fathers were later going to do. That’s the separation of church and state they’re talking about.

Jay: And there was no separation, you’re absolutely right…

Jim: Right.

Jay: …I mean, it was very heavy-handed.

Jim: Right. And that’s what they were getting at when they later created the Constitution. It was that the state would not tell you how to worship. That’s what they were going after. But getting back to the Pilgrims – one of the things that I found fascinating that I didn’t know, and we’re using today as a little history lesson for all of us – both the Pilgrims and the Puritans were on the Mayflower, almost in even numbers. I can’t remember exactly – 35 Pilgrims and 40 or 45 Puritans.

Jay: Yeah, approximately.

Jim: What is the difference in those sects? I mean, we talk about Baptists today, and others. But what – what was their differences?

Jay: Well, the – the separatists, the Pilgrims, wanted to separate themselves out – to be different. The Puritans wanted to purify the church of England. So, they said, “Let’s work within it and let’s try to get the bad stuff out of this.” So, the separatists were really more about separating the church and state. Puritans were really more about, they can work together, but let’s – let’s purify it now. In the end I think there was more of a majority of the separatists and the Pilgrims and they all kind of blended together. But we definitely have these two groups. And at times, they were at odds, because they ultimately had the same goal of worshipping in the way that they believed the Bible taught them to worship…

Jim: Right.

Jay: …But they had different approaches to how to…

Jim: Yeah, and that’s good to know. I mean, it’s nothing new under the sun, huh? I mean, it sounds very similar to what separates some Christians today. So, going back to the Pilgrims, they’re uncomfortable. They’re getting persecuted for their practices – their religious practices. They don’t immediately say, “Let’s go to the New World.” They have a different plan. What was their plan?

Jay: Yeah, yeah. And it’s interesting, because I think we picture them just sort of taking off, right? And so, they tried to work within this for a while. They tried to see if they could have secret meetings and things. And those all got broken – they were watched. And the government took a really close interest in them. So, their first objective was, “Hey, let’s actually – let’s leave for mainland Europe.” And Holland was a place that was more religiously tolerant. And this is one of the interesting parts of the story that’s overlooked is that this was a really dangerous escape from England to Holland. They were captured several times by the English government trying to escape. They were separated. They were on a boat that almost sank in a storm. And they barely made it out…

Jim: Just to Holland.

Jay: …to mainland Europe, yeah, yeah.

Jim: And in that context, what were they hoping to find in Holland? I know a bit more ease. But in fact, it didn’t go the direction they thought it would go. What took place in Holland?

Jay: Well, they came from a rural English setting. It was very peaceful. And they came to Holland, and they found this industrial center. They were working in the factories…

Jim: Shipping – it was a shipping center.

Jay: …Yeah, and it was hard labor, backbreaking. So, they really didn’t find – it was a cultural change for them. And it was difficult. So, they started to worry after a while that the religious intolerance that happened in England was going to – going to happen there. And you know, the English government was trying to extradite some of them and putting pressure on Holland. So, you had two things happening. You had this religious pressure that they saw taking place in England might happen here. And then also, you know, the cultural issues, that they weren’t able to really worship and practice in the way they wanted to, without that peaceful setting. They really wanted to create their own world. Now part of this is that their kids were starting to actually take off and become sailors themselves and some of the things…

Jim: Now, I found this really interesting. I want to punch this point because in reading the book, the idea that they were concerned their kids were assimilating into the Holland culture. I mean, that is a direct parallel today, you know, where we are maybe living in a city, or they go to a university, and they start to move into more secular thinking. Speak to that. I mean, again, those parents of that time were experiencing similar angst that we are today.

Jay: They were. And yeah, it’s interesting, because they were really concerned. And I think in a lot of ways that was more the motivation to go to North America than anything else.

Jim: Let’s get our kids out of this mess?

Jay: That’s right, right. And there was a lot happening in Europe at that time, and they didn’t quite know where it was gonna go. And so, you know, there was an opportunity to go to a completely new place where they could create a distinct culture and practice in the way that they wanted to. And so that’s what they decided to do.

Jim: Well as a historian, help paint the picture for me in terms of the numbers. What are we looking at here? I have no concept. Is it thousands of people, hundreds of people, dozens of people that go to Holland and now are thinking let’s go to the New World?

Jay: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s not as many as you’d think. I mean, you started with just a couple dozen that made that trip to England. They picked up a few people in Holland, a few people that came in over time, you know, just – they were there 10 years in Holland. So, there were more people that came over from England. And so, then you have about a hundred that want to make this journey. So, you’re really starting with a small group…

Jim: I mean, that to me – we’re talking about a hundred people. And then they decide we’re gonna do this. How did they, in fact – in historical fact – how did they go about planning the trip? What did they have to buy? How did they do it?

Jay: Yeah. Well, this was really interesting to me is that they looked around the world. I mean, they didn’t just say, “North America is our spot.” They actually looked to go into South America, down by the Amazon, because they thought, “Hey, warmer climate, we could plant crops all year.”

Jim: I’m telling you; people think exactly the same, don’t they? Nothing is new.

Jay: Yeah. They looked at opportunities to stay in Europe. You know, they thought about whether they could go back to England. They looked at everything. And you know, eventually they got together and voted. This is what is sort of mind-blowing to me is that, you know, they knew that a lot of them were going to perish. I mean, they just knew that that was the reality of the day, that this journey – that they would not all survive the journey and the process. And yet, they made that decision to go. It’s sort of mind-boggling that they were willing to take that risk that I don’t know if we’d be as eager to do that today.

Jim: Now some of the A students listening will remember that fourth grade class and William Brewster. And some others that may have been, you know, distracting one another may not remember him. Talk about William Brewster. Who was he? What type of man was he? Why was he the leader? Who appointed him? How did he gain kind of control over the Pilgrims to give that leadership?

Jay: Yeah. Well, you had several leaders who really stepped forward. And Brewster was one of them. And, you had a lot of people – it was a group of people that came from a rural setting. And so, there were…

Jim: Farmers?

Jay: …There were few people like Brewster who were really well-read. And this is one of the things that also surprised me. These people studied philosophy. They studied political science. And they spent a lot of time thinking about, “How do we govern a – a group of people and how do we – how do we transition them too somewhere else?” So, Brewster was among the several handful of leaders who had some background in leading the church and wanted to find a way to lead the government there as well. And so, a handful of people that stepped up and took the reins and moved them on this journey.

Jim: And so, they’re – they’re in Holland. They come back to England to pick up the ships. Speak to the, again, the logistics. I don’t feel like I got the answer I wanted there. But the logistics – they bought two ships. And just purchasing two ships, I mean, I didn’t know that. I thought – I was under the impression that they simply paid their, you know, their fare to use the ships to get across. But they actually kind of rented the ships.

Jay: They actually bought it. And then they didn’t buy the Mayflower. They bought the Speedwell. And so, they bought a different ship. And that ship had a lot of problems. So, they…

Jim: Mainly holes?

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Right? It was leaking.

Jay: Yeah, it leaked, and to the point where they couldn’t – they couldn’t take it. They got out halfway into the ocean and had to turn back. But so…

Jim: Think of that. I mean, that would be discouraging. I don’t know how they – how they got their money back on that one, but…

Jay: Well, they didn’t. They didn’t.

Jim: So, they were taken for a ride?

Jay: Essentially. They were sold a boat that was improperly equipped and…

Jim: Not sea-worthy?

Jay: …No, no.

Jim: So, they come back to England, then what happens?

Jay: So, they – they had bought – they bought the Speedwell. And then they – they also took the – the Mayflower. And so, they ended up – they sailed both of them out into the ocean, came back to mainland England when the Speedwell was leaking, and they transitioned everyone to the Mayflower. Now you had some people who decided, “Hey, we’re not going to, we don’t – we don’t want to join anymore.” They’ve been out, they’ve gone out, and they’ve come back…

Jim: Well, and they probably were fearful. I mean, that’s a big ocean. And they probably – some may have even said, you know, “I think this is a sign from the Lord that we shouldn’t do this.”

Jay: That’s right. That’s right.

Jim: “Our ship is leaking.” So, they stayed back?

Jay: They decided to stay back.

Jim: How many stayed back? Is there a record of that?

Jay: You had about 40 or 50 that ended up staying back or peeling off in different ways. And you know, some just decided they wanted to go back to Holland, they wanted to stay in England. They had other reasons. And so – then they crammed everyone into the Mayflower, which was now, you know, over full. And that was part of your problem is you had way too many people.

Jim: And how many people would that be?

Jay: You know, about a hundred, and then a few sailors, so just 110 or so. It was packed. And if you get out to the East Coast, you can actually board a replica of the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor. And it’s – I can’t believe that they can…

John: It’s not that big.

Jay: …fit a hundred people. It’s not big at all.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

John: This is Focus on the Family” and Happy Thanksgiving. We’re talking today to Jay Milbrandt about his book and all the research that went into this: They Came for Freedom. We’ve got the book and a CD or download of our conversation at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: So, Jay, they’ve done this. They start their journey now on the Mayflower. Describe what that journey is like from England to the New World. And what were some of the things they encountered on the journey?

Jay: Well, we talked about logistics and, you know, they tried to gather what they thought they needed for what was intended to be a relatively short journey.

Jim: What would that be?

Jay: You could probably make it in six to eight weeks. But then – they brought what they thought they needed, you know, some dried meat and some butter and things. Ended up having to sell a lot of it just to pay port fees before they left England. So, they started off with less than they – than they thought they needed for a regular length journey. They sailed into winds that were in the wrong direction. You have no control of this, because it’s all, you know, tack and work with the wind – right? And zigzag it back-and-forth across the ocean. So, it was a long journey. It was a – stormy. It was tumultuous. And – but thankfully it was not, you know, they didn’t capsize. They didn’t – it was kind of amazing that they actually survived the voyage.

John: How many did survive, Jay?

Jay: I’d have to look up the numbers to give you the exact total. But they didn’t lose anyone from their group. There was a sailor that passed away that fell overboard. But the – the Pilgrims all made it. And they actually gained. They had some – some children born at sea.

Jim: Oh, is that right?

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: So, they arrive, you know, in that shape, not tip-top shape, but they’re struggling. Describe even the idea of the compact. Where was that created? Were they still at sea when they drafted the Mayflower Compact? What is it? Why is it revered? What are the elements of it?

Jay: So, you can imagine, you’ve spent four months on the ocean, you want to get off this boat. And everyone wanted to go on land. First thing they do is they decide, “We need to – before we step off this boat and we step onto land, we’ve got to decide how we’re going to govern ourselves,” which I think is a great insight here is that they had the forethought to do this. And you know, how are we going to structure this? Who’s going to lead the group? And so, they created this document called the Mayflower Compact, while they were on board. And it was, really, our first example of self-government by the people. And they said, “Okay, here’s how we’re going to do this. Here’s how we’re going to make decisions and govern ourselves, once we’re on land.” And so, it was – it was a document that laid out what they were going to do before they stepped foot.

Jim: I think in your book, you mention this, John Quincy Adams, the quote by him about the compact. He said, “It was the first example in modern times of social compact or system of government instituted by voluntary agreement conformably to the laws of nature, by men of equal rights and about to establish their community in a new country.” So, the point of that is, that had a profound impact on the Founding Fathers, again, who used elements of that for the Constitution.

Jay: Absolutely. Now, several people have cited it throughout history as a precursor to our Constitution. And while we don’t see it directly said in the Constitution, it certainly set up the ethos of that document, of the Constitution. And you know, would we have had the Constitution without the Mayflower Compact? Hard to say.

Jim: Now speak to the difficulty that they encountered. I mean, they’re low on food supplies – Squanto, the Native American Indians engage. Describe what that was like for them. They’re out there on the frontier.

Jay: Yeah, yeah. Well, they come off the boat in – as winter’s setting in, and it’s cold and it’s icy. They’re sick. I mean, they have not had nutritious food for months. And so, the biggest challenge before them is trying to find – what do you eat? Because it’s – it’s all new. Even though they picked an area that was in the same latitude as where they lived in England and Europe, it was very different. It’s colder. It’s not as mild. It’s a harsher climate. And so, they had a really difficult time. And you know, also, there was a lot of stories about the Native Americans, and that they should be fearful of people, and that people weren’t to be trusted in North America. And they’d had this fear instilled in them and falsely. And so, they were very afraid of what they were going to find. It was a long time before they even encountered some of the Native American groups. But eventually, they did. And Squanto was one of them who – who found them and befriended him. And he is an interesting character in and of himself.

Jim: And what was that interaction like? Did the Native Americans actually save them, as history suggests? Did they teach them things that they needed to know to survive? And not all the tribes were their friends. They had their enemies.

Jay: They did. If the native peoples wouldn’t have found them and befriended them, I don’t think they would have survived. So…

Jim: Think of that.

Jay: …You had Squanto, who’s just a fascinating character in this. He had probably made four transatlantic trips by the time he met the Pilgrims. So, he spoke English. And that was the reason he – he went and met them, is that he was the only – the only native person who had English fluency.

Jim: Think of that meeting the first time, though. I mean, how shocking that had to be to the Pilgrims…

Jay: Right, right.

Jim: …that Squanto comes through the forest and says, “Hello.” I mean, that right there is amazing.

Jay: Right. And it completely changed, you know, the preconceived notions they had of the people there, because here’s someone who wanted to show them how to survive. But Squanto’s interesting, because he had been captured on at least two occasions and taken as a slave, sold in a Spanish slave market. I mean, just a really interesting person, but this is how he learned English. And so, he took them under their wing and showed them how the native peoples planted corn, how they caught fish, things the Pilgrims probably would not have figured out on their own. And I think it’s – it would have been a hard – hard survival without him.

Jim: So, they make it through. Speak to the feast. Let’s get to it.

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: The whole idea of Thanksgiving…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …is a – is a much later tradition.

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: But they did celebrate that first bounty. How did they celebrate it?

Jay: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: What did they call it, and who was there?

Jay: Yeah. So, what’s really interesting about Thanksgiving is we have, as our – our holiday looks today, we sort of mixed up several different events that took place at that time. And when they survived their first year and they had a crop, they had a harvest festival. Now a harvest festival was – it was a secular event. There wasn’t a purely religious event. It was, “Hey, we have food, finally. Let’s eat it.”

Jim: Let’s celebrate.

Jay: It was a great event. They invited the native peoples who helped them survive. But they – they ate too much of their food and actually put themselves back into – into near starvation.

Jim: Yeah. I’m sure the – the Native Americans are saying, “Why are they eating everything they’ve grown?” But they were celebrating.

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: Let me make sure something’s clear, though. These are – are the Pilgrims. I’m sure that…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …All the – the thanks was given to God ahead of time.

Jay: Absolutely.

Jim: But what you’re saying in it not being a religious expression…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …It wasn’t Thanksgiving as we know it today?

Jay: Right. Right.

Jim: But they would have been grateful to God. God would’ve been the centerpiece of all of they were celebrating, I would think.

Jay: Absolutely.

Jim: But it was still called a harvest celebration.

Jay: Absolutely.

Jim: I just want to make sure that’s clear.

Jay: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Jim: Because they were very religious people, very God-fearing people. So that would’ve been an element.

Jay: Absolutely. It just – it wasn’t a church-sponsored event, per se.

Jim: Right.

Jay: So, it was a – they absolutely would have been thankful, and it was – they gave all credit to God for getting them through and surviving. But it was a – it was a non-religious event in and of itself.

Jim: Now, William Bradford…

Jay: Mm hmm.

Jim: …is a key character in this. Who is he? What’s his role? And what did he do?

Jay: Bradford was a young man at the start of this. And – and he was well-read. He was one of the people who helped chart the course in their government structure. And he became the governor, again, as a young man. He was appointed governor of this colony and ran it for decades.

Jim: Do we have an age of that?

Jay: Yeah. He was – he was in his early 20s at that point.

Jim: Yeah. Think of that.

Jay: Which, at the time, you know, was – was kind of middle age, given the survival. But he was one of the – one of our heroes of this story, because he really brought the Pilgrims through so many times and led them faithfully. And he was a man of great faith.

Jim: So now, in the last few minutes, and this has been very educational. As Jean and I were reading the book and looking through the material…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …there are some great nuggets in here that…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …we don’t understand…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …that we don’t appreciate the history of. Talk about the declaration of Thanksgiving – what it has become in the modern world, who started it, what’s the history of the actual Thanksgiving celebration?

Jay: Yeah. So, we had that harvest festival that we talked about. Now the following year, we have the – they try to – they plant crops again, and the crops almost fail because of a drought. And so, about the point where they said, you know, “If we get any more drought, we are probably going to – going to starve. The crop’s going to fail,” they held a day of thanksgiving. So, they brought everyone in the colony together. This was a religious expression. So, they brought everyone in the colony together for a day of prayer and petition to God for their survival.

Jim: Mm hmm.

Jay: And as they’re having this day…

Jim: And praying for rain?

Jay: Praying for rain. And they’re having this day of – of thanksgiving. And as the evening sets in, these clouds come in, and it starts raining. It’s a rain that saves the crops. And they have perfect weather. This is mid-July. They have perfect weather for the rest of the season. And so, this was where we get the idea of Thanksgiving. Now what happens is the – the harvest festival about food and eating food gets combined with the day of thanksgiving over time. And about 200 years later, Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb” – she was the one who wrote that poem – that song. And she wrote a book about – where she talked about this event, Thanksgiving, that had happened in the colonies.

Jim: And she lived around the time of the Civil War?

Jay: She did. She did. This is about the time of the Civil War. And she – this is a fictionalized event in her book, but it becomes this – this greater idea. And so, Sarah Josepha Hale starts petitioning states to make it a holiday. And she eventually gets the ear of Abraham Lincoln, who says, “Okay, the Civil War has just ended. We need a holiday that is unifying, that brings people together and focuses us on God and being thankful for this nation.” And he loves this idea of Thanksgiving. And so, we get the – the food. We get the thanks, the prayers to God. And they all sort of coalesce, and Abraham Lincoln creates this national holiday in November.

John: Hmm.

Jay: And so, it’s kind of an interesting story about how, you know, all these things came together, and Thanksgiving gets created some 200 years later after the Pilgrims.

Jim: Yeah. And I like the fact – I mean, if you look at the inflection points…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …of our nation, it’s a good thing.

Jay: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jim: I mean, President Lincoln was trying to save the union…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …way back then. They’re simply trying to survive…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …so the union can actually be saved later, right?

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: So, these are two big inflection points. So, the idea of combining these things…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …creating a day of thanks…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …giving – it’s so appropriate. Now you – the other part of this, Jay, as we’re ending – right at the end here – the Pilgrims, they went through an economic upturn. They were able to sell their goods. But then they moved along. They went to a different part of…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …The area to Cape Cod. And then – this is what I didn’t realize – it didn’t work well, and they simply disbanded.

Jay: Well, yeah. Plymouth ended up kind of failing, which is really surprising to me. And the history sort of – sort of fades off.

Jim: How many years was that, from the times that we were talking about – the harvest celebration, the first crops…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …All the good news, and then kind of an uptick? What was that – the number of years?

Jay: Well, the uptick started happening in – in the first 20 years, as more of the – the Puritans, then, started coming in from England, and they established Boston. And – and there was a lot of economic growth in Plymouth. And then after that, the kids in Plymouth started moving away to Boston and these bigger cities. And they slowly started shrinking away. And they sort of pushed out some of the new ideas and weren’t willing to adopt. And so, Plymouth, as a colony, faded away. And that’s why we don’t have a 14th colony of Plymouth. We’ve got the 13 Colonies. Plymouth wasn’t one of them because it just sort of disappeared and got absorbed into some of the others. And so, they took that colony and moved out further away, so they could further isolate themselves and – and their – their small group from what was happening in the rest of New England.

Jim: Well, Jay, this has been really informative. Man, I’m telling you…

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: …I so appreciate the depth that you’ve been able to collect here in your book, They Came for Freedom.

Jay: Thank you.

Jim: Just the depth of information – new things that I never understood.

Jay: Thank you.

Jim: And I’m – I feel I’m pretty well-versed in it, so wonderful, wonderful research.

Jay: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Jim: Thank you for being with us. I hope everyone will pick up a copy of this, so we really do know that Thanksgiving is not about football and pumpkin pie.

Jay: Yeah.

Jim: It’s about so much more. And get a copy by writing us or calling us here at Focus on the Family. And if you can make a gift of any amount, we will say, “Thank you,” by sending you a copy of Jay Milbrandt’s book, They Came for Freedom.

John: Donate and get a copy of that book at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And we’ll say thanks in advance for your generosity. Right now, through a special matching opportunity, when you make a gift to Focus on the Family, your gift will be doubled dollar for dollar. God will use your donation to help bring healing and redemption to twice as many families. So, as I said thanks in advance from all of us at Focus. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller inviting you back next time as we discuss the importance of remembering the gospel at Christmas. And once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

They Came for Freedom: The Forgotten, Epic Adventure of the Pilgrims

Receive Jay Milbrandt's book They Came for Freedom for your donation of any amount! And when you give today, your support will be DOUBLED to Give Families Hope!

Recent Episodes

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Enjoying Mealtime as a Family

Ted Cunningham offers practical suggestions for making family mealtimes more meaningful in a discussion based on his book Come to the Family Table: Slowing Down to Enjoy Food, Each Other and Jesus.

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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.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Play Video

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

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

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

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

Play Video

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!

Play Video

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!

Play Video

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!

Play Video

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!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

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

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

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

Defending Your Marriage

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

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

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

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

Dr. Randy Schroeder

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

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

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

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

Mr. Gary Thomas

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

cherish front cover

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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

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

Mrs. Wendy Speake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

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

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

Mrs. Patti Giebink

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

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

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

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

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

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

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

Dr. Lee Warren

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

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

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

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