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The Strength of a Man

Original Air Date 02/21/2007

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In a passionate and inspirational message, Dr. Harold Davis encourages fathers to build a lasting legacy of strength and character to pass on to their children.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Teaser:

Dr. Harold Davis: Martin Luther King said that passivity in the face of a crisis is NOT the American way.

Audience: Amen (faintly)

Harold: It’s time to get down when we see a crisis. Amen?

Audience: Amen!

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Dr. Harold Davis has an inspirational message for us today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Wow...as many of you know, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago today. Um...he was standing on a hotel balcony in Memphis when a sniper’s bullet struck him right in the neck and he was pronounced dead an hour later.

He was just 39 years old. I didn’t realize he was that young. And it is tragic that a man trying to accomplish so much, in a peaceful way, was struck down at the prime of his life.

Over these 50 years, steps have been made to address the racial issues that came to a head, of sorts, in the 1960’s. I was born in the 60’s so I was really [too] young to understand it all. But, we still have a long way to go. That I do understand. And that is to overcome the cruelty that is at the heart of racism.

Uh...here at Focus on the Family it’s our mission to help strengthen and rebuild families. And so, on this day, I’d like to address a larger crisis. One that impacts families from all ethnicities. And that’s the crisis of fatherlessness. Here in North America, more than one-third of children go to bed every night without a dad in the home. No dad to tuck ‘em in, John. Uh...children living in fatherless homes are more than four times more likely to be living in poverty than children living with a married mom and dad.

Another stat is fatherless teens are seven times more likely to be a part of an unplanned pregnancy.

John: Hmm...

Jim: Think of that. Seven times more likely to become pregnant. Another one that grips my throat is 78% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. These are very concerning statistics. But you can be involved in making a positive change. And you’ll hear how with today’s speaker, Dr. Harold Davis, who has been working for many years to find and train mentors for fatherless children.

He’s the senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Champaign, Illinois, and the founder of a ministry called TALKS. And his hearts cry is for men to step up to the plate and get busy in the lives of these children who have no dad.

John: Hm...As you’re about to hear, he spoke to a very enthusiastic audience at a church in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and uh... he used as his text for this message the Old Testament book of Judges, chapter 8, where he found this key phrase: “As a man is, so is his strength.”

And with that, here now is Dr. Harold Davis on Focus on the Family.

Body:

Harold: Now I want to say that, uh. I miss my wife.

Audience: Amen!

Harold: I miss my wife. She usually, she travels with me quite frequently, she normally sits right over there, to my left, and I just systematically look up over there at her and she always winks that left eye at me. [Laughter] And I’d wink back at her and we just had a winkin’ thing going on. Yeah. Until I went to this church one time and there was this woman sitting in front of my wife.

Audience: [Laughter]

Harold: She didn’t know what was going on and me [sic] and my wife had a winkin’ thing going on and she got the wrong idea. So we don’t wink at each other no more, she just wink[s] at me now. [Laughter]

Certainly a pleasure to be here.

Today I need for you all to pray for me, I want to minister to the men a little bit today...

Audience: All right...

Harold: And uh, is that okay? [Confirmation]

I wanna minister to the men, and just see if we can… because I believe the answer lies in the men. Amen?

Audience: Yeah...

Harold: And I wanna start off by saying “I’m a man.” You see you can’t tell me nothing about no man [sic]. See I was a boy, but now I’m a man. Not only am I a man, I’m the son of a man. My name is Harold Davis; the son of John Davis; the son of Raleigh Davis from Winona, West Virginia, with our American roots in the plantation soil of Virginia. I said I’m a man! That’s what I said, that’s what I said.

Now, I am so honored to have a family. I am so honored to be the man of the house and to have children that call me dad and a son that says, “What’s up dad?” And ah, a son whom I can tell about his daddy and his daddy, are you all listenin’ to me. I am so excited to be building a legacy. A Davis legacy. Whatever your name is you need to be building that kind of a legacy. So I, I am excited today and that’s what we gotta [sic] get back to. Now let’s turn to the book of Judges.

Today’s text finds us following one of the great men of the Bible. Gideon was a great man. And what I like about him is that if you go back to chapter 6, you will notice that when the Lord called him, the first thing he said to the Lord, he says, “But Lord, my family is the smallest family, uh, in Judah. We don’t know nobody, we, we, we don’t… we’re just a small family” He started making excuses. That’s what he started doing. And many brothers today make excuses when they’re called upon to do tasks. But that’s what Gideon did; he was just an ordinary brother. He was in the neighborhood hiding food from the Midianites. Think about it, a brother in his neighborhood hiding food from the enemy. Sounds like some of our neighborhoods where we have to hide in our own neighborhoods. That’s what Gideon was. But in spite of that, he was man of valor he was a leader of men. Gideon was forced into a situation where he had to fight. That’s basically what happened. Gideon was somewhat of passive brother. The mess was going on in the community, he was taking it.

But, a-ah, a situation arose where he was forced, he was forced to fight. And, uh, I don’t know about you but I’ve been forced to fight. You take anybody and you push them long enough, you know. You know I taught elementary school, I love teaching elementary school and I was a good teacher. And I wouldn’t have stopped teaching; we need more teachers that look like this. Hello somebody? We need more…, we need more teachers with, with a bass voice. Are you all listening to me? And I remember this particular day a third-grade class, there was something goin’ on right over there and I, and I couldn’t, I was catching out the corner of my eye and I couldn’t see it. But this one kid kept pickin’ with this other kid. And the bad kid was pickin’ with the good kid, but I couldn’t catch him, but he kept pickin’ with him. I could kinda see it, but he kept pickin with him, next thing I know, the desks were flying in the air. The good kid who never messed with nobody got to a point where he just snapped and he went off, and he kinda shook the other brother up a little bit and I let it go on for a few minutes before I went back there and broke it up. (laughter)

There comes a time when you gotta fight. Everybody got [sic] their line, amen? Gideon decided to fight. There were two specific kings, enemies, who were ruthlessly killing Gideon’s people. These enemies were named Zebah and Zalmunna. And so what these two kings were kings of Midian and they had shed the blood of Gideon’s people and Gideon concluded that it was time to rum-ble. Audience: [Confirmation]

Harold: Ah, he said “it’s time to get down.” When an individual - when a man sees individuals or forces coming against his family- it’s a natural response to rise up and fight. Are you all listenin’ to me? When a man sees danger coming to his wife and his children, it’s a reflex; you don’t think, you get up and you deal with it.

So these kings were rippin’ off Gideon’s people, and Gideon concluded it’s time to get down. And a man will rise up when his family is threatened. So, the first thing I see is as I look at these verses, I see the father’s conquest. He had a conquest, verse 11, it says, “Then Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents in the east of Nobah and Jogbehah and smote the host, for the host was secure.”

Listen, it says, it says that the, it says he fled after them, he pursued after them and, and he says that they were comfortable, they’re secure.

You know I just ask the question how many dope addicts are comfortable in the community. How many of them are comfortable, hello somebody. Back in the day it used to be hard to sell moonshine because folks would talk about you. We have folks doing stuff in the community today, they’re comfortable. And so, what I like about this, Gideon went and he took care of business, and verse 13 says that he was home before sunrise. In other words, he was very efficient in taking care of business. So the father had a conquest.

Listen in the home, the man is supposed to make the rest of the family feel secure. Hallelujah.

In every home there are certain things that the man should be able to do, amen?

Audience: Amen!

Harold: I love being the man of my house and let me say this, my wife lets me be the man of my house. And let me say this to the women, let me say this to the women, let me say this to the wives: your man gotta a little ole’ ego that is in constant need of reinforcement and you got to tell him how strong he is. And when he do something, whatever it is, say “Baby you sho did that good!” And you will help him. He will go out the house feeling like [unintelligible]. Audience: [Cheering]

Harold: Don’t ever use your tongue to bring the man down. Don’t ever… use your tongue to bring the man down.

The father had a conquest. In the, in my house I enjoy being the big man in the house. We sittin’ down eating. A thousand leg thing runs across the floor and all the girls go, “ahhh, ahhh!” And I get up because I’m the man. And I walk over and I say [stomp], I say, “Let’s eat.” You see.

Fathers have conquests. Gideon had a conquest.

But I also see something else, I see the father’s questions. If you look at verse 18 it says, “Then said he…” This is Gideon asking questions, he has caught the kings and now they’re questioning them. “He said unto Zebah and Zalmunna, ‘What manner of men were they whom you slew at Tabor?’” And they answered “As thou art so were they. Each one resembled the children of a king.”

The father had questions. You know, they’re trying to figure out, and this is what everybody’s trying to figure out today; what’s going wrong. But see, as a Christian I understand. Cause I done [sic] read my Bible. John 10:10 says that there’s a thief out there; his only job is to steal, to kill and destroy. That is his job destruct… description. He wants to destroy; as a matter of fact he is from hell.

First Peter 5:8 says that the devil goes around as a roaring lion seeking who he might devour. Amen. I would like to state to all of the fathers here today that your sons, our sons, are growing up in an environment where Satan has been given access to their minds at an unprecedented level. Talk to me men, I remember back in the day if I found a pornographic magazine in the garbage I thought I had something. I’m just telling the truth ya’ll look at me like I’m crazy if you want to. Today they can see stuff on the… I mean it’s just everywhere. Somebody say, “It’s everywhere.”

Audience: “It’s everywhere.”

Harold: And it’s everywhere. And, and he has access to their minds, they’re learning that it’s alright to gamble, the government has said gambling is okay and all this stuff and, and you know if we don’t talk to them, who will tell them otherwise?

John: You are listening to Dr. Harold Davis on Focus on the Family and you can get a CD of this program for a gift of any amount when you call 800-A-FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or donate and request that CD at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

And I should note that the CD’s going to have quite a bit of extra content from Dr. Harold Davis.

Harold: All the studies coming out of the university, everybody wants to do a study on the young, black male. We don’t need another study. Let me tell you something that’s gonna make you feel ashamed just like I felt ashamed when I heard about her. Harvard University, which is a- a-, it’s a place where liberals hang out, if you understand what I’m saying. They did a study and they were trying to see what’s going on with the young, black male. And they were trying to find out what factors were there that determined whether he would turn out good or bad.

After all of the PhD’s and experts did all the interviews and study they concluded that the determining factor for the future of, positive future for a young, black male was religion.

Audience: [Confirmation, Noise]

Harold: My grandmamma knows that! But what has happened as a culture, we have moved away from the bridge that brought us over.

Our music started going down hill. Our music started takin’ us… we always had crazy people in our community but it never was that everybody was listenin’ to it. And then somebody said uh, “It’s your thing. Do what you want to do.” And I…Ya’ll remember these songs? It’s your thing, do what you want to do! We started getting in to individualism. As a people we were never into individualism. We are a tribal people who thought of the best interest of everybody else.

But we got into personal, selfish satisfaction and we started going downhill. Then the lunacy of the song “Me and Mrs. Jones.”

Audience: [Noise, Response]

Harold: Can you fathom the lunacy of these lyrics? Me and Mrs. Jones got a thing goin’ on.

Audience Member #3: And we know it.

Harold: We both know.

Audience: [“that its wrong”….Laughter]

Harold: Listen to the message that we were sending to our children. “We both know that it’s wrong, but it’s much too strong.” And we got into that thing where emotions overruled your common sense. Emotions should never overrule your common sense! .

Audience: Amen. Amen.

Harold: Amen. Now you wonder why, you wonder why we[‘re] fighting this music that’s out today. Listen to me: Sin is bold, it’s getting bolder everyday. You know the devil has no fear because he knows his time is short. He goes for broke with everything he does.

You know often times fathers are too weak in the manner in which we deal with the forces that are destroying our families and our communities. Let me say it again; I said often times fathers are too weak, too mild-mannered in dealing with the forces that are destroying our families.

Well, I see the father’s conquest. I see the father’s questions. I also see something else here. I see the son’s caution. Look at verse 20, “Gideon said unto Jether, his firstborn, ‘Up and slay them.’ But the youth drew not his sword because he feared because he was yet a youth.”

Now let me tell ya, Gideon wanted his son to share in the experience of destroying evil. It’s very important in our homes, fathers, that we teach our kids how to destroy evil. And it’s very important that they see us get angry about evil. Evil should make you angry. A snake in the crib should make you angry! Our boys need to see that. Amen! Gideon wanted his son to share. Now the only problem was, is that the boy was scared. The boy was scared. Let, let me say, let me say this, uh…our boys are afraid. Let’s just talk about it for a minute. They walk around here with their pants droopin’ down, lookin’ bad. The fact of the matter is they scared. So many of them are afraid. One reason they’re afraid is ‘cause they don’t have a dad who got their back.

Audience: [Applause]

Harold: I’m at the University of Illinois. My wife directs the University of Illinois Black Chorus. It’s a choir with a 130 voices in it. And many of these children have adopted us as their parents. Many of them don’t have parents and these are some of the smartest black kids in the country, matriculating very well at a big ten university. But, they come with tremendous daddy deficits. Every girl that grows up without a daddy in your home grows up with a deficit. I ain’t mad at ya, I’m just tellin’ you what it is.

I dated a girl that had a daddy who was 6’2’’, 260 lbs. and they had a great relationship and I couldn’t run no [sic] games on her. She-she… she knew everything. Dated another girl that didn’t have a daddy and I could tell her just about anything.

I think it’s awful in our society where women don’t have men to back them up. Amen. The church needs a ministry where no woman takes the car to the shop by herself, hallelujah. We live in a society where we need to protect our women. First of all, it starts in the home and children have a deficit when they don’t have a dad.

And so what do we do? We find in the church when the home falls down the next institution is the church. Whatever’s not happenin’ in your family, it falls on the church ‘cause the church gotta try to minister to you and help you fix it.

So we see in the church, men who can be…what I told the kids yesterday, is that every girl needs a platonic man, that makes it sound kinda special doesn’t it? A platonic man is a man who has absolutely no sexual interest in you whatsoever. You gotta find platonic men in the church to give a backing to these girls who have no backing, so that they can stand against the wiles of the devil, amen? When there’s no dad in the home there’s a deficit.

James 1:27, you don’t need to look to it, you know it from memory. “Pure religion, undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and the widows…” and the last part of it is, “in their affliction.” There is a natural affliction with not having a dad.

I said earlier that the boys are growing up, listen to this, there are so many effeminate boys coming to campus. They’re not gay. They boys, but they been raised with their mama.

Listen to this, listen to this, this is one of the T.A.L.K.S. mentoring thesis statements: every boy needs a man in his face challenging him with wisdom regarding critical issues and decisions in his life. Every boy needs a man in his FACE! Do you know that so many of our young black men have not been intellectually challenged by an older black man?

Intellectually we need to challenge them; I am not intimidated intellectually by any 16 year-old boy. I am not afraid to sit down and go head-to head with a 16 year-old boy because I know I got too much wisdom for him. Nothing is going to change until we talk to our boys. Nothing is going to change. We are a society who thinks that a video’s gonna come out and everybody’s gonna decide to be loving, not so. We’re a society who thinks that some legislation, listen nothing is gonna change. Every boy needs a man in his face; we got to talk to ‘em. And if the church ain’t gonna do it, it’s not gonna get done.

So the boys are afraid. They’re afraid of everything. We need to step in beside them as men and support them.

But I wanna finish the sermon with this. I see one last thing. I see the father’s quickness. Somebody say, “The father’s quickness.”

Audience: The father’s quickness.

Harold: If you look at verse 21 look what happened, it says, “Then Zebah and Zalmunna said ‘Rise thou [you get up, Gideon] and fall upon us,” Kill us [unintelligible] “for as the man is so is his strength.’

Let me tell you what Gideon did. Gideon got up before they got it out their mouth good. The father was up, he took the sword, that way that’s one head, that way, that’s another head, it’s [a] done deal. In other words, dad was quick in dealing with the enemy. We can’t be slow for we’ve got to be quick, in what? Dealing with the enemy. It’s our opportunity now. When the son froze the father stepped right up and he did what with, what needed to done. And as men we should respond with quickness when we see our son’s vacillating between right and wrong. We should respond with quickness. We shouldn’t say, “Well I wonder what’s goin’ on?” We need to respond with quickness when we see our children vacillating. As the man is, so is his strength.

Men, I want you to take this title and apply it to every situation that you’re challenged with. I have a particular thing that I hate, I hate taxes. And every time it’s time to do taxes I have to say to myself, “as the man is, so is his strength.” I want you to say that to yourself every time you’re challenged with a particular situation.

I wanna model Jesus Christ, who never hesitated a millisecond when it was time to intervene on my behalf. Jesus Christ came to earth, did what needed to be done, ascended on heaven and he’s ready to come back again. And I don’t know about you, but I want Him to come and meet me, intervening on behalf of children. I want Him to come back and see me being the strong man not only for my children, but for children in the church and for children in the community. I want Him to come back and catch me working, intervening on behalf of helpless people. As the man is…[Aud: so is his strength] so is his strength.

Martin Luther King said that passivity in the face of a crisis is not the American way. It’s time to get down when we see a crisis. Amen?

Bow your heads, let me pray for you. Father thank you for allowing us to live in this generation. As we’re here we reflect back on, uhm, our ancestors. Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver… who had to be extremely intelligent to survive all the things they had to deal with. Lord, you gave Martin Luther King Jr. wisdom to deal with his day. Father we need wisdom and we need courage to deal with our day. We pray for an infusion of strength right now in the name of Jesus.

Lord there’s a man here under the sound of my voice who is, this message has hurt him, because he’s never felt strong. Lord he never had the background, he never had the backbone, he’s never felt that, but in the name of Jesus you are the ultimate Father. You give strength, you give courage Lord where there’s no other strength or courage to be had. I pray for that man right now in the name of Jesus.

Lord I pray for that woman today who’s raising that child by herself. Father God in the name of Jesus, I pray that you would strengthen her. Father I pray that you would put a man in that boy’s life so that that man could challenge that boy in wisdom Lord. And so that boy could have a masculine perspective on life.

Lord help us in these last and evil days as we seek to live for you and we seek to help others, help us, dear God. Help us in these last days.

Father when all is said and done, we’ll be careful to praise you, give you the credit. In Jesus name, Amen.

Closing: 

John: What a stirring message today on Focus on the Family featuring Dr. Harold Davis.

Jim: I so appreciate what Dr. Davis is doing with his mentoring ministry called T.A.L.K.S., as he travels across North America recruiting and equipping men to be mentors to children that don’t have a responsible father in their life. That is so admirable, John. Uh.. and it takes a lot of work! Let me say this to you men: Let’s get involved in mentoring the boys in our community. Uh... if you don’t have a T.A.L.K.S. group uh... in your town, let me recommend Trail Life USA, which is a Christ-centered, outdoor adventure leadership and character development ministry, so it’s a lot of fun. They have over 700 troops across the United States to do exactly this. 

And if this program has raised some issues for you, maybe you didn’t have that dad when you were growing up. I get that. I’ve been there. Um... that’s my story. Please give us a call. We’d be happy to talk through this with you and pray over the phone together.

Remember, Focus on the Family is here to help you in your journey in Christ. And if you can help us keep these broadcasts going, like this one, please make a donation today. We are reaching over six million listeners every week, but there are so many costs involved in producing the program and getting it to the radio stations every day. So please, if you listen, support us. 

And when you make a donation of any amount I want to send you a CD of this excellent message from Dr. Harold Davis with some extra content, too. You won’t wanna miss out on all that he had to say. 

John: And you can reach us by calling 800-A-FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or donate online and request the CD at focusonthefamily.com/radio. 

And if you enjoyed today’s program, please tell a friend to tune in next time when Gary Thomas offers hope and encouragement to strengthen your marriage. 

Teaser: 

Gary Thomas: The best marriages I’ve seen are marriages where the two people live for something outside of themselves, and that’s the kingdom of God. 

End of Teaser

 

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Guest

Dr. Harold Davis

View Bio

Dr. Harold Davis is the pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Champaign, Illinois, and the creator of the TALKS Mentoring Leadership Movement (www.talksmentoring.org). He is the author of several books including Can I Call You Soldier?, Talks My Father Never Had With Me, and his latest, Transmission. Dr. Davis his wife, Dr. Ollie Watts Davis, have been married since 1980. They have five grown children and three grandchildren.