Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

What We Believe (Part 2 of 2)

What We Believe (Part 2 of 2)

Gifted author Frank Peretti brings the foundational truths of Scripture to life, illustrating how the Christian worldview stands apart in a world of moral confusion. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: April 30, 1998



Frank Peretti: It’s kind of like somebody said, “If you’re looking for truth, don’t search within yourself. You’re the one who’s confused.” Ha, ha, ha. (Laughter and Applause) 

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: And if the truth isn’t in me, then where is it? Well, you’re gonna find out today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, let me recap what we heard from our guest, Frank Peretti, last time. He was alone on a stage with a chair, and he used it to illustrate being in a dark room, feeling your way around. If you find the chair, you found a fixed point of reference. And you can find the walls, and perhaps the door, in relationship to the chair.

John: Mm-hm.

Jim: And that’s a metaphor of our search for the meaning of life.  There needs to be an anchor – outside of ourselves — for our beliefs. 

Frank went on to explain that for Christians, our anchor is The One True God. And in the New Testament, the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul describes God and provides the foundation stones of the Christian worldview. He said God is the origin of all things; God provides our moral standard; God is self-existent and self-defining; God created each of us for a purpose, which gives us value; and God desires intimate fellowship with His creation.

John: It was really a great message, and if you missed it, I’d strongly recommend getting the CD or audio download, or the mobile app so you can listen on the go. Those resources at Or call us: 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY.                

Jim: Today we’re going to ‘turn the corner’ and hear what happens when you try to operate without that anchor – without absolute truth.  And in case you’re thinking this sounds too heavy, stay with us….Frank does an amazing job of illustrating these truths in a very hilarious way.

John: For he is so deep and so profound. He really is a riveting speaker. And here now, Frank Peretti speaking at a Steeling the Mind bible conference sponsored by Compass Ministries, on today’s Focus on the Family.


Frank: Now, let’s talk about what went wrong. You see, back in the beginning in Genesis chapter 3, Satan came into the Garden and put wheels on the chair. (Laughter)

“Eve, if you eat of that forbidden fruit, you shall be as God. You’ll be able to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. You’ll be able to call your own shots, make your own rules, have your own reality. You will be numero uno in your own private little universe. All you gotta do is eeeaaattt the fruit!”

So, Eve thought about it and, “Welllll, OKAY!” (Laughter) And … and since then, we ended up with a whole bunch of chairs with wheels on them just going all over the place. Everybody knows what’s right in their own eyes. “Out of the way! Out of the way! (Laughter) I’m a relativist. Let me be absolute with you. Aha-ha!”Wheels on the chair!

But you know, there’s all kind of things that go wrong when you put wheels on the chair. I … I’m gonna just tell you three things, just to kind of give you an idea. It’s a really exhaustive subject, I suppose, but there’s three things that I’d like to share with you.

Number one; when you put wheels on the chair, you or your family or your society, you stray, you drift from truth into confusion. Confusion. Things get very confused.

I’ll never forget that story of “The Naked Guy.” Down at Berkeley, they had a problem develop with “the naked guy.” Well, here was this guy who decided he was gonna go to school naked. Didn’t have a stitch of clothes on. He’d go to school. He’d go to classes. He’d jog. He’d eat in the cafeteria, do the whole thing, just naked.

And uh, well people were kind of upset by it. Women didn’t want to be near the guy… you know, and they’d sit in class with this guy. And there’s was also the problem, they called it “The Seat Issue.” Nobody wanted to sit where he had recently sat. (laughter) Now what’s interesting about this is the problem was tackled, of course. The problem was taken head-on by the college administration–all these educated educators with all the alphabet soup after their names, you know. They were so smart, they just knew everything and they knew all the world’s wisdom and they were kind of saying, “Oh, what are we gonna do?!” “I don’t know. We can’t say it’s wrong, though. It’s not wrong. He’s just expressing himself.” “Well, I don’t know. We have to stop it somehow.” “Well … well, then it’s right.” “No, it’s not right!” “Well, then, it’s wrong!” “No, it can’t be wrong. We can’t tell him it’s wrong!””What are we gonna do?” “Well, I don’t know. We’ve gotta make up some rules.” “But we can’t make up any rules, because people will think we’re infringing on their right of expression!” “Yeah.” “Oh, noo noo. You know, we have to be liberal. We have to be progressive. We have to really be freeeeee thinkers.” “What are we gonna do?”

Here’s this guy, “Blah blah blah blah,” with … with nothing on, you know and they try to come up with some rules. Uh … that didn’t work. He … he hung on. He stayed there. It took them more than six months, I think, to deal with this problem. That’s a long time when you’re naked. (Laughter)

And (Laughter) they did solve the problem, though. Someone finally got a brainstorm. The women got together and they came to the administration and they said, “We believe that the behavior of this man constitutes sexual harassment.” (Laughter) (Sound effects of shooting something into the sky) He’s gone! (Chuckling) Which just goes to show, when truth is lacking, politics can fill the gap! (Laughter and Applause) That’s what happens. (Laughter and Applause) 

Confusion! Confusion!

That’s where you get a hospital with, on one side of the hall  there’s a team of doctors performing a late-term abortion. On the other side of the hall, there’s a team of, of a rescue team, standing by to save the life of the infant if the first crew fails in what they’re doing. Now that is confusion. It’s tragic confusion.

Let’s go to the next one. Points of tension, points of tension. Now here is an example of a point of tension and you hear this all the time. Now get ready; here it comes. Someone says to you, “It’s wrong to impose your morals on others!” (Phew) Went right by you, didn’t it? (Laughter) I’ll try it again. (Laughter) “It’s wrong to impose your morals on others!”

What am I doing? I’m imposing my morals on you by telling you that something is wrong! I’m contradicting myself in the same thought, in the same sentence! That’s a point of tension.

Kinda strange. You know, people say, “We all create our own reality.” Then they get all mad at you for being a Christian, you know? (Rh-rh-rh-rh) “You’re narrow-minded, bigoted, intolerant, right-wing freak, for nothing…” They’re going on. “Well, wait a minute! I thought you said that we all create our own reality. “Yeah, we do!” Then I’m your fault. (Laughter) If you’ve got a problem with me, take it up with yourself! (Laughter and Applause)

There has to be a Truth that is fixed and objective and separate from you. It has to be true whether you believe it or not! (Pthum) It has to be true whether you like it or not! (Pthum) It has to be true whether you ever heard of it or not! (Pthum) It’s just true!  

Points of tension. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Carl Sagan (Laughter)[who]told us about the cosmos that came together purely by chance and it’s all billions and billions of stars and the cosmos is–here is his big quote–“The cosmos is all there is or ever will be.” He went to great lengths to tell us that we’re nothing but an accident, with no reason for being here, right?

Now, isn’t it interesting, at the same time, he’s involved in the SETI project, which is the big radio telescopes and they are beaming–I mean, they’re … they got [sic] these telescopes aimed at the heavens. Why? They want to find out if there is extraterrestrial intelligence out there.

“Well how will you know if there’s extratera….extra… extraterrestrial (laugh)  intelligence out there?” “Oh, well, here’s signals that have a pattern to them….cuz nature is random. It’s just (alien-ish gibberish sounds) there’s nothing but if we hear a dit-dit-dah-dah-dit-dit or something, well there’s intelligence behind that. Isn’t that amazing, they’re looking out toward the stars trying to find a pattern! Down here they’ve been studying the DNA molecule for several years, and that’s a terrific pattern.  But “Oh, that happened purely by chance!”

Well, now here comes the point of tension. Somebody asked Carl Sagan, “Why are you searching for extraterrestrials out there?” And he said–are you ready?–“Because when we learn who they are, we will know who we are.” (Laughter) 

Carl, Carl (Laughter), Carl? Are you searching for meaning? Even an atheist astronomer can sometimes let his true human nature slip through and betray the fact that he knows he’s a person; he knows there’s got to be a reason for being here. He’s looking for some kind of a scheme to the overall structure of the universe. 

You know, I am really gonna crack up if they finally do get a signal from outer space. (Laughter) (Sound effects) You know, and they decode it. It takes them years, but they finally decode it and it says, “When we learn who they are (Laughter), we will know who we are.” (Laughter and Applause) What a letdown that would be. (Laughter)

The third thing I wanted to talk about was how, when truth is abandoned, when an ultimate moral authority is abandoned, that is how tyranny develops in a culture, in a nation. Um … this has been demonstrated so many times. 

Let me just draw an illustration for you. Let’s imagine … I call this the playground parable. Okay? [The] playground parable. Let’s imagine: here’s a playground for hundreds of kids out there. (Sound effects) They’re all playing, typical grade school playground, okay? And they’re throwing balls around and they’re skipping rope and they’re just having fun. And maybe a few fights might break out, but that’s okay. They get broken up and … it’s a, really, it’s really a pretty safe place to play–pretty orderly, for a playground, anyway. One of the reasons, folks … right on the edge of the playground there’s a big old sign that says, “Playground Rules: no hitting, no shoving, no spitting on the girls, share the equipment” and all that kind of thing, you know? Share the toys. Now that’s really nice, but why do the kids even obey those rules? Because of Mrs. Kravitz. (Laughter) Mrs. Kravitz has her clipboard and her whistle (sound effects) and … and her pink slips and all this. And if you transgress those laws then there’s gonna be a certain authority brought into play here. You might even have to get sent to the vice principal’s office. No one’s ever seen the vice principal. (Laughter) But they’ve heard about him. And there’s this holy terror, you know.

But anyway, that’s what keeps … okay, let’s–let’s do a little experiment here. We’ll take Mrs. Kravitz and take her off the playground, okay? We’ll put her over here. (Pffffftttt!) There, she’s gone. (Laughter) Now, the kids continue to obey the rules and they … and they play according to the traditions they’ve always been handed down and all this kind of thing. But after a while, you know, maybe little Bobby, he likes playing with his ball. He just loves playing with the ball. And as a matter of fact, he’s getting kind of tired of sharing it with the other kids. He wants to go throw it against the side of the school building there, so he starts throwing it against the side of the school building. He’s … (bonk-a-booty, boink, boink) And one of the other kids starts standing around and, you know, “I ain’t got nothing to play with.” And “Bobby! You’re supposed to share the equipment!” “Uh-uh! I’m gonna play with the ball all by myself!” “But you have to share the equipment!” “Uh-uh! I have my own truth. I’m seeking my own reality and how dare you impose your narrow-minded, bigoted, right-wing, fringe-fanatic, Christian conservative (Laughter), fundamentalist morals on me?!” So, he’s going away, “But look at here, the rules say you have to share the equipment!” “Oh, yeah? Well that’s just too bad!”

And after a while, some of the kids start figuring out, “You know what? Bobby is doing it and he’s getting away with it. Why do I have to share the jump rope?” So, he starts grabbing the jump rope.

And then, the other kids, they start spitting on the girls. “Yeah, I like that! I get to spit on the girls!” “Ay, he hit me!” And they start kind of challenging those rules and they start crossing the rules out and finally, the old rules get torn down, They knock the whole sign down. Now you don’t have any rules at all. Every child is playing according to the dictates of his own conscience. (Laughter), clarifying their values out there. Now you have a playground in chaos. Now here’s the big question: On a playground like that, which child’s will is going to become law?

Audience: The strongest.

Frank: You got it. The strongest. The biggest, meanest, toughest kid. This has been repeated again and again throughout the history of mankind. When a nation loses its grip on moral absolutes, then the rules are made by whoever can rally the most votes, gain the most political power, buy the most TV time for commercials, gather the most marchers, shout the loudest, you name it. Hitler did it. Mao did it. Pol Pot did it. 

And in this nation right now, we have people who know how the game is played. They know how power works and they know how vitally important it is to eradicate the idea that there is an ultimate moral authority, that there is a fixed point of reference. 

Program Note:

John: Some really compelling thoughts from Frank Peretti today on Focus on the Family. 

And you can get a CD of this entire two-day broadcast with quite a bit of extra content when you call 800-A-FAMILY or donate and request the CD at 

Let’s go ahead and hear more now from Frank Peretti.

End of Program Note

Frank: It’s interesting to me that when, you know, whenever the Communists took over a country, be it in Asia or Africa or anywhere else, they’d have these indoctrination classes and they’d start taking all the peasants and the workers and everybody else and they’d put ’em in these classes. Mandatory! Did they study Marxism? No. Did theystudy the tenets of socialism and socialist economy? No. What did they study? Evolution. The first thing the Communists wished to establish is that there is no God; there is no authority higher than the state.

“We are the big kid on the playgrounds.” I want to tell you something. The only reason we have freedom in America now is because somewhere back there in the beginning somebody said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The whole idea of liberty and democracy is founded on the idea that there is a just and moral God calling the shots. When you lose that, you as a nation are in big trouble. Now, this is why it is so very, very, very, very important for you to realize where you’re sitting. I say that figuratively. Are you sittin’ on the chair that’s fixed, that’s separate from yourself? There’s a God Who is the origin of all things, Who is the moral absolute over all things, Who is self-existent, self-defining, Who has created you for a reason, for a purpose, for destiny. Who wants to have fellowship with you? And of course, that’s why Jesus came to earth, was to get rid of that sin problem so that you could have fellowship with Him. 

I wanna just share somethin’ with ya. It’s not exactly in the script but I’ll get kinda personal, I’m going to share my heart just a little bit…you know, my personal heart.  I wrote This Present Darkness back in 1983. Actually, I wrote it from ’78 to ’83 – it took me five years, and uh, finally got published in ’86. You know, when you write a book like that, suddenly, you kinda get labeled as the expert on spiritual warfare, and everybody wants to share their experiences with you, and uh, you find yourself kinda being deluged with every horrible sordid story and testimony you can imagine. And then, of course, in order to write books like that, you have to research the occult and the New Age movement and the trends toward neo-paganism in our culture. I just want to be honest with you, and I think you can probably relate to this, if you have a steady diet of that stuff it can get to you. It can discourage you. 

So, I guess Satan’s attack on me was one of discouragement. Depression. Futility. Kind of like “God, what’s the use, aren’t we ever gonna win? Is there nothing but bad news out there?” Well the Lord deals with all of us in different ways, and I’ll tell ya how he dealt with me.  Number one he said, “Frank, Your problem is you’ve got your Kingdoms mixed up. You’re expecting some kinda salvation to come out of an earthly kingdom. Such as the United States. Did you know God does not have a covenant with the United States? (laughter) God never made any promises to the United States of America. He did to Israel, but he didn’t to the United States.

Now we are a successful nation, up to this point, because we followed His tenets and His principles. But I’ll tell ya the kingdom that God did make promises to: that’s the Kingdom of God. That’s the body of Christ. That’s His church. That’s you.     

Now I like to think about that Energizer Bunny…he just keeps going and going and going and going….don’t you know how many Caesars have risen and  fallen, trying to eradicate the church and they’re all dead and we’re just going and going and going…(Applause and some shouts of approval)

The second thing the Lord told me was this, “Frank, you’re not responsible for everything that happens on this planet. “

You’re sitting in your kitchen, you’ve got your kids to raise, you got your living to earn, and you’re saying to yourself, “The whole world is just falling all apart …” and don’t feel that you’re responsible.

I’ll tell ya how the Lord told me. I started reading Nehemiah.Great book, Nehemiah. You know how Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem? He had all the people in Jerusalem. They were all kinda given their own little part of the wall.  He’s got their names and everything. Everybody’s just assigned their part of the wall. And they’ve got, you know, they got their bricks, and each guy’s responsible for his part of the wall. And they just started….and I looked at that and said, “Yeah.”  I just wanna be a brick layer. I don’t have to build the whole wall; I just have to lay one brick at a time where the Lord told me to lay  one brick at a time. (crying noise) “What am I gonna do, I gotta do something, and I kinda felt the Lord saying “Frank, why don’t you go upstairs and type out a few pages? Do some writing, that’s what I called you to do.” You know I kinda get this really neat picture in my mind every time I write a book, every time I finish a page, it’s kinda like putting another brick in the wall.  

And little kids come up and say, “Hi I love your books, I like your Cooper books for kids, they’re so exciting!” and I’m just thinking about “here’s this kid who’s reading, and he’s reading about Christians, and Christians who live by Christian principles, and there’s so many people who come and “Oh I love your books because they touched my life and I got saved through your books, and I gave it to a friend and she… and it opened my eyes, and here, here “putting bricks in the wall, putting bricks in the wall.” Every one of us, we all have a trowel in our hand, and we all have a pile of bricks, and each one of us, right where we are, can be laying bricks in the wall.  

And yeah there’s those Tobiah’s and those Sanballat’s, out there, those bad guys from the book of Nehemiah, “You’re never gonna build a wall, you can’t possibly succeed, we’re going to put a work order…stop work order against ya….we’re gonna call the county, we’re gonna take you to court, we’re gonna do all this other stuff….” Just keep laying those bricks in the wall.  What does that mean? How do you do that? Be Jesus. Be Jesus wherever you are.

I gotta little thing on my refrigerator, St. Francis of Assisi said it, (that’s a lot of ss’s) Anyway, it’s a good saying so I stuck it up there cuz it just ministered to me. It says, ‘Preach Christ, and if you must, use words.” I thought that was pretty good, ya know? (Applause)  Be Jesus. Be. Jesus.

Look at what Peter says: “Alwaysbe prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” The interesting thing about that verse is he says, “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you.”  First, they have to ask you. Peter is assuming they’re gonna ask you. Why will they ask you? Because you’ve got something they see that they want.

If you’re not being Jesus, and you’re not showing his love, they ain’t gonna ask ya. Cuz they’re not gonna be interested. What did Jesus do as He walked the earth? He did good.  He did good. Look at what Peter says, “Do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ…” Yeah, we get talked about maliciously. We get slandered. We get name-called. We get accused of hatred and so forth… “that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. Live such good lives among the pagans, that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. For it is God’s will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.“

Can’t you see yourself sittin’ on the Solid Rock, who is Christ? You’re sittin’ on that fixed point of reference. You got your feet on the solid rock, but you’re in the middle of a river. And here’s this raging river (sound effect) flowing by ya. Here comes your neighbor, my neighbor, and the people you work with–people who are struggling, trying to find truth. And they’re going to argue, “Oh, there’s no absolute truth,” but boy, they sure wish there was, because it’s in the middle of the night, it’s at the end of the day that they are striving to find meaning and peace in their lives.

You never know what the Holy Spirit might be saying to them through you. And if you’re sitting on that solid rock, (snap) that’s your chance. Reach out your hand. Be Jesus. Put another brick in the wall right where you are. Be Jesus and reach out.


John: What a heartfelt appeal to reach out to those around you from author and speaker, Frank Peretti on Focus on the Family.

Jim: John, I love this message. It reminds us to reflect God’s character of Love and Truth to others, and that’s such a vital message today. We need to have confidence in our beliefs when we talk about our Christian worldview. When we engage a world that doesn’t know Jesus. And Frank has illustrated that so well!

One of the ways that we, here at Focus, are engaging the culture is through The Truth Project.  It’s a DVD series that establishes God as our Creator and explains our purpose as human beings. And the fact that God wants relationship with us!  It also looks at how our view of God is impacted through the influences of science, history and theology.

And I want to urge you to get The Truth Project, featuring 13, one-hour lessons with Dr. Del Tackett and biblical experts such as Ravi Zacharias, R.C. Sproul, and Os Guinness.  We’ll send that out to you when you make a generous gift of a hundred dollars or more to support the work of Focus on the Family – helping us share the Gospel with millions of people, and helping families thrive! I hope you’ll partner with us today.

John: And you can do so by calling 800-A-FAMILY or stopping by our website to donate and get The Truth Project. That’s

Also, request a CD of this two-part message from Frank Peretti with a lot of extra content.

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

Today's Guests

The Truth Project Small Group Curriculum

Receive The Truth Project Small Group Curriculum for your gift of $100 or more.

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Home Schooling: Giving Your Child a Strong Foundation

Home schooling is one of the fastest growing forms of education in the United States and a lot of families are interested … but intimidated as well! Monica Swanson describes how she was reluctant at first, but soon reveled in the many benefits of home schooling. Things like prepping them for life in the real world, shaping the character of her sons, and providing them with a solid Christian worldview.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Practical Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage

Jay and Laura Laffoon laugh their way through a conversation on practical ways to celebrate your marriage. This couple of over thirty-nine years talks about how to enjoy your spouse by improving your day-to-day habits and attitudes. Work, parenting, and the realities of life can keep couples from taking the time to invest in each other, so Jay and Laura advise couples about how to be intentional and connect more deeply.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Moms and Anger: Understanding Your Triggers (Part 2 of 2)

Amber Lia and Wendy Speake discuss common external and internal triggers that can make mothers angry. They share their journeys overcoming their own triggers, like when their children disobey and complain, and when they have to deal with exhaustion. Our guests offer encouragement to moms and explain how they can prepare to handle their triggers in a healthier way. (Part 2 of 2)

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

A Legacy of Music and Trusting the Lord

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

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Accepting Your Imperfect Life

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