Focus on the Family Broadcast

Seeing the Value of Every Person

Seeing the Value of Every Person

On this Best of 2019 broadcast, Emily Colson encourages us to put our sanctity of human life beliefs into practice by extending grace and love to people with disabilities, inviting them into our lives and especially, into our places of worship.

Original Air Date: February 20, 2019

Emily Colson: The voice of the crowd is very loud today – isn’t it? Telling us which lives have value, which lives do not. Pushing people aside – the disabled, the elderly, the prisoner, the unborn, the unwanted, the disruptive, the inconvenient.

John Fuller: Today on Focus on the Family, Emily Colson shares her perspective on the value of every life. And your host is Focus president, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Well, welcome to the month of December when we share the top broadcasts of the year. This presentation from Emily Colson is near the top of the list. And we are delighted that so many of you were touched by what she had to say.
One of our YouTube viewers, Jennifer, called her message, “a beautiful expression of the heart of a mother and the heart of Christ.” And added, “May we all remember the value of everything created by God.”

John: Mmm..I love the way Jennifer put that.

Jim: I do, too! And that’s sums it up perfectly.

John: Well let’s go ahead and hear now from Emily Colson as she spoke at a staff chapel earlier this year – in January – on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Emily: It’s a joy to be here this morning and share some of my story with you. I have a beautiful son. His name is Max. He’s 28 years old. He’s awesome. And he has a diagnosis of autism.

Nothing has been simple or easy in our lives, but God has made it beautiful. I’ve been a single mom with Max for most of those 28 years, which means I drink a lot of coffee (laughter). It also means that God has given me a beautiful perspective on life.

Psalm 100 says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are his.”

I have to tell you something about Max, maybe my favorite thing about Max. Max loves church. Oh, that’s such a great statement. It’s huge because for years, we couldn’t figure out how to be in church. We didn’t know how to do it. But only God could unfold His beauty in an impossible situation. Max loves church so much that he even loves other churches. He fell in love with this one church service that’s – that’s played every single morning on television at 7 o’clock.

Well, we’d gone to visit this church several times. It’s in Massachusetts. It’s about 150 miles away. Every time we’ve gone, we have had beautiful blessings. So, on this last visit, we invited some friends to come with us. We invited my – my friend Christine and her son, Christopher. Christopher is a little bit younger than Max. He also has autism. And Christopher is blind.

Well, we each drove four hours from our different homes and met up there. We were about 20 minutes early. And I said, “Oh, Christine we just have to go in because Max needs to soak everything up and kind of get used to the environment. And he’s just too excited to sit outside.” So, we went in. And sure enough, Max is just looking all over this church and so excited in anticipation of the worship that, every now and then, he’s throwing his hands up in the air. And he’s yelling, “We’re gonna sing God’s praises!” (laughter). Shouldn’t we all come into church like that?

Well, there was a woman on the other side of the church in a bright blue shirt. I saw her get up and walk towards us. And she leaned into my friend Christine, and she gave one of those head nods toward Max. And she said, “He doesn’t belong. I can’t think. I can’t pray. Can’t you just leave? He doesn’t belong.”

I want to tell you that what happened in that church has nothing to do with any denomination. It has nothing to do with that church. It doesn’t even have anything to do with that woman. It has everything to do with our common human condition.

There’s a story in Matthew that I just love, Matthew 20. Jesus is leaving the city of Jericho, and there’s a crowd around him. And he hears two blind beggars cry out to Him from the side of the road. And do you know what happens? Do you know what the crowd around Jesus does? My NIV Bible says, “The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet.”

Now, embedded in that is “you don’t have any value,” right? Jesus doesn’t have time for you – two disabled men on the side of the road. Jesus doesn’t have time for you. You don’t belong, right? And when the crowd tried to silence them, the two blind men cried out even louder to Jesus, knowing He is their only hope. And then – this moment that I love – Jesus stopped with the crowd around Him and the cross before Him. Jesus didn’t listen to the voices of the crowd. Jesus listened to the two blind men crying out for him. Now, Jesus turned to those men. And He said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They asked for their sight. Now, we know Jesus could have healed those men from a distance and gone on on His mission because He had a lot to do. But He didn’t. He got close. He walked up to those men. He got very close. He put His hands on their place of brokenness and brought them healing. Jesus didn’t listen to the crowd. Jesus stepped in.

The voice of the crowd is very loud today – isn’t it? Telling us which lives have value, which lives do not. Pushing people aside – the disabled, the elderly, the prisoner, the unborn, the unwanted, the disruptive, the inconvenient. We see it with assisted suicide. We see it with abortion. We see it with selective abortion. In our country our number of babies that we abort who are diagnosed with Down syndrome is upward of 67 percent. We know it’s higher. We just don’t have those numbers to track it.

It takes little imagination for me to know who is next. When Max was diagnosed with autism, it was around 1 in 10,000, maybe 4 in 10,000. We just knew it was rare. Now the CDC reports that autism affects 1 in every 59 children, and a new federal study reports that it’s more like 1 in 40 children.

God calls us, His church, to step in. To defend life. But I wanna ask you a hard question this morning: Will the church be able to defend life if the church is not yet able to sit beside that very same life for an hour in the pew on Sunday morning?

Well, I wanna take you back to that little church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This tiny, little church where this woman in a bright blue shirt kept leaning into my friend, saying of Max, “He doesn’t belong.” Oh, I’m so thankful for a friend beside me. My friend Christine kept looking at this woman. And all she said was, “All are welcome. All are welcome.” We had an advocate. We had somebody standing up for us, somebody saying, “I see this person’s value, and he belongs.” We stayed in that church. And I’m just gonna tell you that I’m not sure they’ve ever seen worship quite like that, quite that joyful. Max was so excited, bouncing up and down, singing at the top of his lungs. He is so thrilled. The priest would say something, and because he’s memorized everything, the priest would say, “Peace be with you,” and Max would answer, “And also with you!” So excited. I don’t know if we looked like church or a soccer match. But at one point, the priest, who was a very serious guy, just burst into this holy joy. He just burst into laughter. He couldn’t contain it.

When the service was over, I just put my arms around Max and hugged him, so overwhelmed by God’s goodness, by God’s beauty in every life. And as I was hugging him, I felt someone watching me, and I looked up, and it was the woman in the bright blue shirt, and she was smiling.

1 Corinthians 12, 18 and 22 says, “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. Those parts that seem weaker are indispensable.”

God calls us to Him, not because we are worthy, but because He is great. God places value in every life, and He calls us, His church, to affirm that value.

The voices of the crowd are very loud these days. But Jesus didn’t listen to the crowd, and he doesn’t want us to either. We as the church should look radically different than the rest of society because we’re to be a reflection of the coming kingdom, the hope of the good to come.

John: Emily Colson today on Focus on the Family. And her message is just one of 14 outstanding broadcasts featured in our Best of 2019 CD collection. You can get that for a donation of any amount when you call 1-800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or donate and request the collection at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Let’s go ahead and return now to more from Emily Colson.

Emily: Now, imagine – imagine if there were a blueprint for God’s kingdom. Imagine if there were a guest list for God’s kingdom. Here in Luke 14:13, Jesus is giving us a picture of the coming kingdom. He’s using a banquet to describe that, and he gives us the guest list. “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”

When Max was very young, I could take him to church quite easily. He was a wiggly guy. He was really loud. And then we hit those very tough years that we went through. We stopped going to church. We stopped going everywhere.

You know, sometimes it seems like church is made for those with a spiritual gifting of being quiet and sitting still. We don’t have, really, either of those giftings. Sometimes we’re trying to make the church so perfect that we forget that the people who are coming in aren’t.

Max was baptized. He gave his life to Christ when he was 13. My dad had the privilege of baptizing his grandson. He was a Christian. I thought, “We can’t be out of church when my son is a Christian.” So, I thought, “I’m gonna take Max back to the one thing he always loved about church when he was young.” He loved it to be over, so we went was church was over.  (LAUGHTER)

I’m like, we can do that. We can do that milling around, and it’s the coffee hour. I thought, we can do that.

Well, we got there, and Max started helping some of the guys stack chairs. And I didn’t really know what they were doing, but when we were about to leave one of those men came up to Max. He put his hand on his shoulder as if he were knighting my son, and he said, “Max, we could use you on the grunt crew.” That’s the cleanup crew. Well, I didn’t know what it was. Max didn’t know what it was. But he stood so tall and straight. And he gasped, “Yes!”

See, somebody took one minute – one minute out of their life to say, “Max, you’re needed. You’re valued. You’re indispensable.” That one invitation changed our lives. For six years, we came to what we called ‘backwards church.’ We came when church was over. We were there for the worship music at the end. And Max was there to serve.

Everybody got to know and love Max and his joy of service. I want you to know that now he comes. Now he comes and he serves on the welcome center. Now he comes and he serves in kids’ church, and he helps out down there. He comes and he serves by vacuuming. He does have the spiritual gift of vacuuming.

And Max is a greeter. Oh, I wish you could see people coming through the doors of our church; they’re carrying their burdens, the burdens of the week, the worries they’re carrying, and they meet his joy, and they are undone. I watch the armor just drop right off. And they are ready to worship. I think Max in front of our church says everything. I think it says, “All are welcome. Disability on the outside, disability – spiritual disability – on the inside, come.”

Max has found this spot where he loves to worship. Every Sunday morning, he climbs up on the sound-booth platform. It’s about five steps up in the back of the church, this little plywood platform. And he’s up there every Sunday morning, and he is leaping and dancing. He’s 190 pounds, so he’s airborne more than he’s on the ground. So, when he lands, you really, really, really know he lands. He sings at the top of his lungs.

He was up there one morning, and he’s leaping and dancing. And a friend was standing beside me. And I said, “Oh, boy.” I said, “One day, Max is gonna go right through that floor ‘dunk-tank’ style. He’s just gonna – he’s gonna disappear.” And my friend just smiled gently. And he said, “No, he won’t.” And I said, “Well, why not?” And he said, “Because, months ago, some of the men in the church noticed exactly the same thing. Months ago, they got together, and they reinforced the floor.”

Audience: Aww… (APPLAUSE)

Emily: I so love this. Do you know what I love? Nobody told me. Nobody said, “Emily – Emily, we really – we really love having Max here. He belongs, but he just doesn’t belong here. Could you have him belong over there?” Because that’s what we do with people with disabilities. We want to welcome them in, but I’d like to welcome you in over there. People that make us uncomfortable, people who are a little bit different. They didn’t do that. Nobody told me about the inconvenience, about how somebody – how these guys had to get together and take their Saturday and come into the church just specifically to rebuild the sound-booth platform where Max dances. Nobody told me about the inconvenience. They just held him up.

That’s what God calls us to do as the church: To hold each other up. To uphold life, to stand for what is good and right and true. To be like Jesus and step in. Our churches need to sound pro-life. And our churches need to look pro-life.

There’s a woman at our church named Kate. She came up to me one day and she said, “Emily, I’ve been at this church for about a year.” And she said, “I came to this church because I heard how much this church loves Max.” And she said she thought to herself, “I think if that church can love Max, then I think that church can love me.”

Our pastor said about Max being in the church, “We gave up perfect, and we got something better. And that something better is that lived-out faith that begins to ripple out into the community. And it’s what people are hungry for.”

God has given me remarkable blessings in this journey with Max. And I will tell you that none of it has been easy. There are challenges that are beyond what I could begin to describe. And there are gifts and blessings and goodness, the goodness of God, beyond what I could describe.

This is exactly where God calls us to step in. To rejoice with those who rejoice, to grieve with those who grieve. To step into the joys and challenges with our families. If you know of a family living with disability, I want to – I want to tell you something that’s kind of old school. Pick up the phone and call them. You’ll be amazed at how touched they will be. Ask if you can come and visit. Ask if you can do something with the family, something that they really love to do anyway. Not out of their comfort zone, in their comfort zone and join them there.

A friend of mine, Kathy, who is raising a daughter with significant disabilities, said she loves when people say they are going to pray for her. But she said what she really desperately wants is someone to pray with her.

Invite. Invite someone to church. Invite someone to stack chairs. You might just change a life. You might just change the church.

Many look at disability and question the goodness of God. The big question’s around disability. We look at people to try to understand who God is, right? But we have that backwards. We have to look at God to understand who people are. And He is the author of all of life. He is the creator of the heavens and the Earth. He is the Great I Am. So, we come to Him. We come to Jesus, our help and our hope, asking Him to help us with our own blindness, in our hearts and in our churches, that keeps us from seeing the beauty and value in every life. And He shows us not to silence the cries of those who want access to him, even when those cries disrupt our plans and our church services, even our mission.
Every life is precious. Unrepeatable. Irreplaceable. Indispensable. One of a kind and part of God’s grand love story. Keep going, my friends. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep speaking up for life. Keep defending life. Keep upholding life. I am so very, very thankful for you. God bless you.

(APPLAUSE)

John: Emily Colson on today’s episode of Focus on the Family. And Jim, we had to end there. But you asked our staff to join Emily in praying for families in the audience affected by autism, like my family. And that was a really moving experience. I want to thank you for doing that.

Jim: Well, you’re welcome. I just felt the Lord nudge us in that direction, John. And that’s what we need to do in the body of Christ – hold each other up in prayer and in practical ways, too, like Emily talked about.

And as the church, we need to make sure that we welcome everyone into our houses of worship. Let’s not shut out people like Max, who have such an exuberant love for the Lord. Let’s be bold in asserting the value, literally, of every life.

And I want to encourage you to support the pro-life movement in a tangible way. Consider joining us in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life, which is just over seven weeks away, now, on Friday, January 24th.

John: That is such an amazing event in our nation’s capital, and the media just can’t ignore such a huge crowd on the streets of Washington, D.C. We talked to someone who said, “It’s bigger and younger every year. It’s a great way to go out and be counted as a pro-life American.”

Jim: Well, it sure is. And if you can’t come to Washington [, D.C.] make plans to join us for a multi-city pro-life celebration that we’re calling Alive 2020. It’ll occur on May 9th, the day before Mother’s Day. We’ll have pro-life speakers, inspirational music, and a 4-D ultrasound on the big screens so that everyone can clearly see a baby waiting to be born. A baby, not clump of cells or mass of tissue.

Many of you heard about the Alive from New York event we hosted last May. It made a big impact. Especially the 4-D ultrasound with the echo of that baby’s heartbeat reverberating through Times Square. I’ll never forget it.

Here’s just one response that we received from a man in North Carolina. He said, “I have stayed on the sidelines of the abortion issue. But, wow! Your Alive from New York event really opened my eyes. Thank you for being a voice for the voiceless. The unborn baby that we saw and heard today.”

John: Hmm…that is amazing. And we have no idea how many people were impacted by that moment. Uh… that ultrasound. That heartbeat being heard. There were 20,000 people in Times Square. We had hundreds of thousands listening and watching online and through our radio partners. It was a big, big event.

Jim: And that’s why I’m excited to extend the reach of the pro-life message by hosting these free events in Orange County, California, plus the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Chicago, Atlanta, and south Florida.

Visit our website for more details.

And let me encourage you to support us as we stand up for life. We need your partnership. We need to do this together. So, please…donate generously today.

And because this is such a critical time for us, some faithful friends of this ministry have offered to double your donation, dollar for dollar, making now an excellent time to give.

For example, a gift of fifty dollars will become a hundred dollars, doubling the impact of your contribution.

And when you make a donation of any amount I’d like to send you our Best of 2019 CD set featuring the programs that received the largest response from you, the listeners, this year. It’s a 12 CD set with 14 titles. So please, give generously.

John: Donate and request your Best of 2019 CD set when you visit our website: focusonthefamily.com/broadcast, or you can do that by calling us. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459.

And be sure to join us next time as we feature another of our top programs for the year, about understanding the impact of stress on your marriage and your family.

Teaser:

Mrs. Kay Yerkovich: In my home, you know, no one was relational with stress. You just looked at dad and knew, “Oh. He’s in a bad mood. Don’t go near him.” “Oh…mom’s really  quiet, she must be stressed.”

End of Teaser

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Best of 2019 CD Set

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

Revival Rising

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

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

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

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

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

Revival Rising

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

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

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

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

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

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

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

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

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

Mr. Greg Koukl

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

Tactics front cover

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

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

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

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

Mrs. Patti Giebink

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

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

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

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

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

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

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

Mrs. Wendy Speake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

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

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

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

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

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

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

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

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

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

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

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

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

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

Dr. Lee Warren

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

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

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

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

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

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

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

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

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

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

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

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

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

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

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

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

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

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

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

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

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

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

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

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

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

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

Mrs. Meg Meeker

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

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

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

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

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

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

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

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

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

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