Ken Davis shares humorous illustrations and heartfelt stories to remind dads why it's important to spend time with their kids, speak with kind words and live a life committed to Jesus Christ. (Part 2 of 2)
John Fuller: Today on "Focus on the Family" is Ken Davis reflects on the moments just after the birth of his first child.
Ken Davis: That doctor brought me that little baby in his arms. He said, "Would you like to hold her?" I said, "No," tears streaming down my face. He said, "Why not?" I said, "Because she'll break." (Laughter) I never saw anything so fragile in all my life.
End of Recap
John: Well, I think most of us who have children can remember those first moments we had with them, whether it was by birth or adoption, when we were able to hold them and then what? Well, welcome to "Focus on the Family" with Focus president Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller and today, we're continuing a tribute to dads.
Jim Daly: I think when I first held our kids, it was like, get 'em back in mom's arms so I don't break 'em.
John: Yeah, that just seems right, doesn't it?
Jim: (Laughing) It does. You know, Father's Day is coming on Sunday and to all the dads listening, we want to say, we salute you and the role you play in the home. And I also want to recognize deployed servicemen who can't be with their families right now. We need to remember you and the sacrifice that your families are making for our country. So, thank you. And if there is anything we at Focus on the Family can do to help you in your situation, we want to do that. So, get ahold of us.
You know, as we continue Ken Davis's message, let me just point out that he began with an Old Testament Bible verse, Malachi 4:6 that contains a prophecy about Jesus Christ, who would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. And Ken is sharing ideas for encouraging that relationship between dads and their children, such as making a real effort to spend time together as a habit--no bit plans, just hangin' out together and spending time with each other.
If you missed part one of Ken's presentation yesterday, get in touch with us, because it's that important. We can send you the entire message on CD or you can get the audio download, so that you can share it with your spouse.
John: Yeah, our number is 800-A-FAMILY; 800-232-6459 and we'll be happy to send that to you for a gift of any amount today. Let's go ahead and hear now from Ken Davis and Jim, he is so good at public speaking. He--
Jim: He is.
John: --actually teaches it to other people. Ken is an accomplished author, as well and in this case, he's speaking to a crowd of about 50,000 men a few years back at a Promise Keepers' event in San Diego. Some in our audience may have been there.
John: Let's go ahead and roll back just a bit so you can hear the main point from last time and so, here now, Ken Davis on today's "Focus on the Family."
Ken Davis: "Jesus looked at his disciples just before He was about to die, and He said, 'A new command I give you, that you love each other like I loved you." He said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples." How did He love us? He made a commitment to leave His throne on high, to leave all of the glory that was His, and come down here to spend the time with us that would allow us to know the love and forgiveness of God. If you want evidence that your heart, Dad, is returning to your sons, your daughters, make the commitment of time. And I'm speaking to you sons, too, because this isn't easy. Young men, if you claim the name of Jesus Christ, make time for your dad. Honor your father with your time. (Applause)
Second commitment, evidence that the fathers' hearts are returning to the children, and the children's hearts to the fathers, make a commitment to say the words "I love you." I was speaking at a large church in the South. And in the middle of this marvelous service--several thousand people in the service--a boy about 12-years-old walked up on the stage, and the pastor stopped what he was doing. He grabbed the boy's head between his hands, and he placed that head of that boy just right up to his face. And you could tell he was whispering something in his ear. Then he held the boy just inches from his face and placed a big old kiss on one cheek, then a big old kiss on the other cheek. I was at attention. I could not believe this. And the young man walked across the stage, off of that stage, and out the back door, not ashamed; not embarrassed; but with confidence, a sense of pride and stability.
When the pastor got back I said, "What did you do? What did you say?" I thought, perhaps, the young man had misbehaved in some way, and the father had said, "You better straighten up." He said, "Oh, I prayed in his ear that the angels of God would protect him. I prayed that the power of Christ's blood would protect him from Satan's attack. And then I whispered in his ear, 'I love you and I will love you until the day you die.'" He said, "Then I kissed him, and sent him to bed." He said, "I do that every night since the day he was born, for 12 years." He said, "Sometimes I'm traveling and I have to step out, and I have stepped away from a message, or I have asked to be delayed for a moment, so that I can get to a phone and whisper those words to him, every single night." And the tears began to stream down my face. "I said, "Where did you learn this?" And he said to me, "My dad did it every day of my life." We need to break the chain, we need to break this idea that because young men and women grow to maturity, there's a necessity that they separate from us spiritually. We need to break that by letting them know that we love them, by saying the words.
My own daughter stopped saying the words when she was 16-years-old. And now I'm speaking to you young men here, and I'm speaking to some of you who are 40, 50, 60, and have dads and you haven't said, "I love you" for a long, long time. Those words are so important. She stopped saying "I love you." I tried to force her to say it. I would look her in the eye, and I would say, "I love you." (Laughter) And she would say, "Me, too." And I would say, "Say it." And she would say, "I just did." Seventeen, 18, I couldn't get her to say the words I so love to hear.
She went to college. I went to speak at her chapel. My only concern was that I didn't embarrass my daughter. It was not a good motivation, but I just wanted her to be proud of her dad. I spoke at the chapel. Went out to lunch with the chaplain afterwards. We were at a wonderful Italian restaurant. He said, "Look," and he handed me a stack of cards, and the stack of cards were response cards. He said, "We have never had such an overwhelming response from our student body. They loved you." He said, "But I thought you might be interested in this." And he handed me a little blue card. It was my daughter's response card. On the front of that card in her handwriting was her name, Traci Lynn Davis. I turned the card over praying, "Oh, dear God, I hope I didn't embarrass her. I hope she liked my talk." And when I turned the card over, written on the other side in those big round letters was, "I love my daddy." I spit spaghetti all over the place. (Applause.)
I ruined the dinner. I ran for the bathroom. I turned around and locked the door and began to wail out loud--this is not an exaggeration--"She loves me. Oh, God, she loves me." There was a guy in a booth I was not aware of. (Laughter) I know he was there because he said, "Big deal (Laughter). Get a life, man." (Laughter) How important those words are.
My dad was a prisoner of war in the second World War, spent 3 ½ years in a Japanese prison camp. When he was liberated, he weighed about 87 pounds. They told him he'd never have children; he has five. They told him he probably wouldn't live past 40; he's 70. They told him his health would fail; he can still whoop me. (Laughter) But my dad grew up in an era--like a lot of dads in this marvelous stadium grew up--where it wasn't considered a manly thing to say, "I love you." And so, I didn't say, "I love you" to my dad.
John: Well, unfortunately, Ken Davis is describing something that's very common for a lot of us men and it's a privilege to have him on today's "Focus on the Family." We're about to hear how Ken went through one of the darkest periods of his life as his message continues. Let me just say though, you can get a CD of this program by calling 800-A-FAMILY or the download and CD are available at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Let's go ahead and return now to Ken Davis on "Focus on the Family."
End of Program Note
Ken: The other day I was on a plane at 30,000 feet, and I decided to write a letter to my father. I didn't know how he would receive it, but I wrote and I told him, "Dad, everything I've ever written on a piece of paper has come true. Every goal I have ever put down for my life has come true"--financial goals, corporate goals, spiritual goals. I said, "Father, I did all of that to make you proud. I want more than anything, as a man who is 50-years-old, I want you to be proud of me, your son." And then I wrote what was coming from the depths of my heart. I said, "But Dad, as I sit on this plane at 30,000 feet with all of these accomplishments, written seven books, gotten awards from the President," I said, "what I'm proudest of most, Dad, is that you are my father."
And I sent my dad that letter, and I waited for the phone to ring and it didn't ring. I went home to visit my father about a month later and my mom, moms are so marvelous. She did that thing, "Wait, wait, shh, wait; wait." (Laughter) When my dad was outside, she took me into the guest room and there in the guest room in a homemade frame that my dad made, framed where everyone who comes into my parents' home can see, was the letter I wrote to my daddy that said, "I love you. I'm proud that you're my dad." Oh, how we need to hear that, how we need to say it to each other. (Applause)
I want to give you one more illustration. (Applause) I need to give you one more illustration. I don't know where I would be today if it wasn't for the fact that God has spoken over and over and over again, "I love you." Several years ago I believed that I was going to die. It was a result of a stupid mistake, and for several weeks over the period of Christmas I thought I was experiencing my last Christmas on the face of this earth.
And as a result of that crisis, I went into the deepest depression I had ever faced in my life. And in the midst of that depression, Satan came like he has come to so many of you. And during that depression, I filled a notebook with my sins. You see, my friends, one of problems with being raised in a Christian home, being raised where you're around Christian people all the time, is you come to believe that you deserve God's love.
I had traveled all over the world, spoke to over a million high school students. I had seen tens of thousands of people respond to the message of Christ. I had gone to some of the top corporations in this country to give motivational talks and as a result of them, seeing the life of Christ in my life, talked to men and seen them come to know the Lord in hours of conversation after those presentations. I thought, "God must love me. It's the real bad people that He has to be forced to love." But in the mist of that depression, I came to know the truth: My heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. And that truth bore down on me until I couldn't stand it. Satan pointed it out over and over and over again.
Then one day I closed the door to my office, determined that I didn't deserve to live. And I believe an angel said, "Clean your desk." You say, "How do you know it was an angel?" It's a guess. All I know is when I opened the door to clean my desk, a little heart fell out. I had never seen that heart, except for the day that I created it, and I have not seen it since. I have no idea where it is, but it was a doily, a white doily, and a little red heart, and written in crayon in my handwriting was something I had written years before at Bible school. "We loved Him because He first loved us."
Satan is good at telling you half the truth. None of us deserve to be here. Not one man sitting in this stadium deserves the blessings and love of God, but that's only half the truth. The truth is He knows that. He's seen our video. He's read our notebook, and He loves us anyway and He has told us a thousand times, "I love you. I love you. I love you." (Applause)
And if it were not for that redeeming message that He saw so fit to remind me of that day to counteract the lie of Satan, I wouldn't be here.
John: What a candid admission by Ken Davis and he has more insights about life and faith in just a moment. Now get a CD of this program to share with a friend when you call 800-A-FAMILY or you can get the CD and an audio download at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. Let's go ahead and return now to Ken Davis on today's "Focus on the Family."
End of Program Note
Ken: You want to show evidence in your life that your heart is returning to your son, to your daughter. You want to show evidence in your life, young men or older men, that your heart is returning to your father. Say the words.
Some of you need to leave here and find a telephone and call your father, no matter what age he is, and say, "I love you." Some of you who have been mentored by men who care about you, need to tell that person, "I love you." Some of you, who have befriended that young man on a skateboard with a hairdo that could injure people (Laughter), need to call that young man and say, "I love you."
Another one, a commitment to touch. There's a reason a dog is a man's best friend. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said, "We as Christians need to respond to each other the way dogs respond." How many of you've come home and the reason the dog is the man's best friend is because he loves you, and he's willing to show it in any way? You can be gone for five minutes, five hours, five days, you come home, that dog is right there at the door going, "Oh, I'm so glad to see [you]. Oh, come and see what I've done. Come and see what I've done." (Laughter) This is why I'm pretty sure cats aren't Christian. (Laughter and Applause)
I watched the funeral of Itzhak Rabin, moved by a man who yearned for peace. I would have made it through the entire ceremony if it hadn't been for his granddaughter. She stood up and she said these words. And anyone who saw the ceremony had to be moved by them. She said, pardon me, but I don't want to speak about peace, but about my grandfather. She said in the middle of her speech, "Your appreciation and love has accompanied us at every step and pace in all ways." She said, "You are our hero, lone wolf. You're so wonderful. Ones greater than I have eulogized you, but none know the softness of your touch."
In a group of men that I'm accountable to, we sat one day and asked, "What do we want when we get to heaven?" And all five of us wept uncontrollably as one man expressed the desire of all of us, "To climb into the lap of Jesus Christ and have Him wrap his arms around us and hear Him say, 'It's okay now. You're safe now. I love you. I've loved you always.'" (Applause)
Some of you have daughters that have reached the age of puberty, and somehow you believe that now you need to back away, that you can't hug them anymore. I listened to a woman at one of our communications workshops as she wept and talked about the rejection she felt from her dad. He had loved her. He had held her. He had touched her in all the right ways until she became a young woman, and then he treated her like she had some disease. I have a friend that works in Minneapolis with prostitutes. He said he has never met one of those dear ladies who have sold their soul along with their bodies, never met one who has been properly and appropriately hugged and held by their dad. Jesus touched the people He loved.
Third and last, a commitment to Christ, and I'm closing. And friends, this is the key. You cannot go out of here saying, "I'm gonna honor those four commitments you gave--to spend time, to say, 'I love you,' to touch my son, to touch my dad, to say, it's okay." And sons, I mean touch 'em. Hug 'em. It's okay. Some of you dads say, "My son would be embarrassed to hug." Then give him one of those as you go those as you go by (Laughter), but touch him. But all of those techniques won't work unless we are committed to Christ.
It was John the Baptist introducing Jesus that would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers. It was Jesus and that relationship that counts. Without your relationship with Christ coming tighter and closer and being stronger, you will not be able to do anything on a permanent basis about the relationship with your children. You cannot force your children to the Lord. You cannot build character or spiritual integrity in the lives of your children by making rules. But your children's character and their spiritual integrity will be more impacted by watching your walk with the Lord and by watching how you treat your wife than anything else on the face of the earth. When they see you following Jesus, they know it works. (Applause)
John: What a stirring conclusion to a message from Ken David, recorded a few years back at a Promise Keepers event. He had almost 50,000 men there and this is a special "Focus on the Family" presentation as we enter Father's Day weekend.
Jim: John, I really want to emphasize what Ken said there at the end, that our own spiritual integrity is the best witnessing tool to our family, the best way to share our faith with our children. And I gotta say, I'm so encouraged by recent surveys from the Pew Research Center that showed that men are spending more time with their children, almost three times the number of hours per week than they did just 50 years ago. And we're feeling bad about not devoting more time to our children. Almost half the dads who responded said they feel like they're shortchanging their kids.
John: Well, I've had moments like that, Jim, when the kids are in bed and I think, man, I had an opportunity. I wish I could've done more with them.
Jim: Oh, I know. We're all feelin' that. It's a good thing. Some great dads are now makin' the headlines. Adam LaRoche recently retired from baseball in the middle of Spring Training, because the Chicago White Sox said his 14-year-old son couldn't hang out in the clubhouse or at practice anymore--something that his previous team, the Washington Nationals, they had allowed it on a regular basis. And what a man! Man, think of the statement that, that son heard. My dad loves me that much.
And I know most of us can't walk away from a career like Adam LaRoche, but you gotta give him kudos for putting his family first, even at the sake of his career. You can bet his son, Drake will never forget it and if you can figure out a way to spend more time with y our children, do it and then spend more time with God, as well.
And I'll tell you what, where I found the time as a little piece of advice, was from about 6 to 8 at night when I got home, I didn't turn on the TV. I spend time with my little boys. The Bible says that the Lord rewards those who earnestly seek Him. So, seek the Lord through prayer, through Bible study, through worship and see what happens. I believe the Lord will not let you down if you do that and your children, most of all, will benefit from the relationship that you have in Christ.
John: And it's never too late, Jim. We've gotta make sure dads hear that. Even if your children are in their 20's or 30's or even 40's, go reach out to them. They're watching to see if your walk matches your talk.
Jim: So true and dads, let me encourage you, if you're feeling desperate, maybe you're feeling depression like Ken felt and what he expressed there, which I really appreciated his vulnerability, um ... don't hesitate to call us. That's not abnormal. You're not alone. This isn't the first person who has experienced that. So, give our counselors a call. We're here for you. We want to provide the tools and advice for you to be able to get back on track. And take us up on it. Great friends have provided the way for us financially to be able to place those counselors there for just this purpose. So, call us.
John: Our number is 800-A-FAMILY.
Jim: And to join our support team to be a part of these people's lives in a very direct way by helping them, I want to send you a copy of the CD of this program for a donation of any amount. Let's work together through the power of the Holy Spirit to make a difference in a father's life today. And that difference will translate into a changed family. Help us today.
John: You can call 800-A -FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or donate online at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio. And when you get in touch, please do ask about a CD or audio download of this incredible two-part message from Ken Davis.
Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I'm John Fuller, hoping you have a great weekend and inviting you back on Monday, when former pro-football player, Ed McGlasson shares about the way he learned to overcome a difficult relationship with his father for the sake of his children. That's on Monday, as we once again, help you and your family thrive.
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