Dr. Steve Farrar: We start early in the morning. Uh, we go late at night. We’re running. We’re … Eh, I, I, I don’t know about you, but our house, we don’t even have an alarm clock anymore. We got a starter’s pistol. Boom.
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John Fuller: (laughs) Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but I think we all relate to that. And Steve Farrar will explain why quality time with your kids is more important than whatever is causing you to rush out of the house every day. Thanks for joining us today. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.
Jim Daly: John, there’s a reason why this ministry is called Focus on the Family.
Jim: And that’s because many parents need to be reminded of the eternal significance of those relationships at home, in our own families, especially those of us with exciting careers that cause us to turn our focus away from our loved ones. And we’re halfway through a message from the late Steve Farrar. And he is encouraging men, especially fathers, to reconsider their priorities. The last time Steve began looking at Deuteronomy chapter 6, which he calls, “God’s Job Description for Men.” And the first few points were love God with all your heart, love God’s Word, and teach God’s Word to your sons diligently as you go about your everyday life. And if you missed part one of Steve’s presentation yesterday, please get in touch with us. We can send you the entire message on CD, audio download, or you can get the app for the smartphone.
John: And so many people do listen to us, uh, digitally and we’re so grateful for that. Give us a call if you need more details, 800, the letter A, in the word, “FAMILY,” 800-232-6459, or stop by our website, focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Steve Farrar spent 33 years encouraging men to pursue biblical manhood and has several books, including Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family. Interestingly, that was just revised, uh, prior to his untimely death earlier this year. Get your copy from us here at Focus on the Family where the proceeds go right back into ministry. Here now, Steve Farrar in a message he shared several years ago, when his kids were younger, on Focus on the Family.
Dr. Farrar: Jesus was the great discipler. Jesus was always with the 12. If Jesus went to the lake, they went with him. If He went into town, they went with Him. If He went up to the mountain, they went with Him. And you know what else? They were always asking Him stupid questions.
Dr. Farrar: That sounds to me like a dad with young kids, with young guys, right? They just wanna be with you. See, those are when the teachable moments come up. I remember years and years ago, I bet you this was 15 years ago. I was going somewhere, Josh and I. We pull into 7-Eleven. We were just gonna get a couple Diet Cokes. Well, I get the two Diet Cokes, and, and there’s a line. There’s a big line. There’s probably five or six guys in front of me. Well, it’s just going slow and slow, and I look up there, and you know what’s happening? All these guys are buying lottery tickets and it’s taking forever.
Dr. Farrar: Yeah, oh, “I’ll take one of those. Yeah, yeah, and give me a, uh, uh, gimme one of those. And uh-”
Dr. Farrar: “… let’s see here. And I’ll take one of tho- …” And this went on. You multiply it five times. I’m watching all these guy- … because the lottery was up to 85 million. Finally. Finally, we get up to the counter. I say, “Just the two Diet Cokes.” The lady says, “Um, lottery is 85 million.” I said, “That’s great. Just the Cokes.”
Dr. Farrar: She ju- “Y- you, you don’t want 85 million?” I said, “No, ma’am. J- just the Cokes will be fine. Thank you.”
Dr. Farrar: And you know, guys are standing around, they’re scratching off their lottery thing, you know? And Josh is with me. It’s just normal. She says, “I can’t believe you don’t want 85 million dollars.” And I’m thinking, “You know what? Let’s turn this into a teachable moment.”
Dr. Farrar: She just kept pushing me. She just wouldn’t leave it alone. “I can believe you.” I said, “You know, I think it’s better just to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, don’t you?” And I’m gonna tell you something. It got real quiet.
Dr. Farrar: At 7-Eleven. ‘Cause, see? Someone had said Jesus Christ and meant it. Guys say Jesus Christ all the time at 7-Eleven. “Jesus! Jesus Christ! Jesus!” But when you say it and mean it, they can’t handle it. I’ll tell you what happened. Th- the lights went out. The refrigerator stopped running.
Dr. Farrar: I’m kind of exaggerating now. You, you know that don’t you?
Dr. Farrar: But I will tell you this. It got real quiet ’cause somebody had said the name of Jesus. She didn’t ask me anymore about lottery tickets. We got our Cokes. We got in the car. Josh is about 10. Ah … He’s probably seven. I said, “Josh, you see all those guys in there, buying lottery tickets?” “Yeah.” “85 million bucks.” He goes, “Yeah, Dad.” “You know what those guys think? Those guys think if they had 85 million, they’d be happy.” I said, “Josh, the scripture says no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I said, “You know what that means, Josh? Hey, you know why I don’t have 85 million? Because I don’t need 85 million. If I needed it, I’d have it. But I don’t need it, man. So, all those guys in there, they’re wasting their money. Might as well put that money down a toilet.” Teachable moment. Put the car in drive, we took off. That’s life. You just walk … Ah … But see, you got to be with … You got to be with them. Does the enemy want us to be with them? No. He wants us to always be over here. Uh, we, we got different responsibilities, but we can’t forget the primary calling of our lives. And in order for you to do that primary calling, you might have to make some fact- sacrifices. In fact, you will have to make some f- sacrifices. You, in essence, at points in your life, will have to deny yourself in order to be with so that you can do the job that God has called you to do. My other boy, John, he’s, uh, gonna be a firefighter. He, uh, he’s a great guy. He’s got a great love for the Lord. We’re, we’re very grateful for all of our kids, but, uh, when John was in high school, he wasn’t doing real well. In fact, right around 16. I realized one day that I had an issue because I was having a conversation with John, and in the conversation, he said something that was pretty innocuous, but it kind of tripped my radar. And by the way, guys, I tell you this with John’s permission. If he were here, he’d share it with you. So, he signed off on this. I want you to know that. But when I had that conversation, I sensed something was wrong. I didn’t know what was wrong, but we’d always been very close, but I felt like he was hiding something from me. I didn’t know what it was. So, I began to pray, and I began to fast every Tuesday for John. And I asked the Lord that He would show me what was going on in John’s life. About six, seven weeks later, we’d had dinner in the living room. I turn on a basketball game, Mary had a cup of coffee, John walks in. Just normal. And all of a sudden, God gave us a breakthrough because John started talking. All … Just, just there. God just did it. Can’t even tell you how it developed. But I realized, “Hey, wait a minute. My prayer’s being answered here.” I, I hit that remote, I mean, and, and John started talking, and before long, he had … This big weightlifting kid had tears coming down his cheeks. And, and, and, and he, and he, he said, “Dad, I’m in trouble.” I said, “Why are you in trouble?” He said, “I can’t tell you. I’m, I’m, I’m too embarrassed.” And I walked over to that red chair, and I knelt down beside him, and I said, “John, let me tell you something. I wanna help you, but I got to know what’s going on so I can help you.” He said, “Dad, I’m t- I’m too ashamed to tell you. I’ve blown it.” He … I said, “Lemme tell you who’s blown it. I’ve blown it ’cause if I don’t know what’s going on, I’m the one who’s blown it. But here’s the issue, John, whatever it is, we’ll walk through it together.” And he said, “Dad, I can’t tell you.” And Mary’s sitting there. He said, “Dad, I can’t tell you what’s going on.” I said, “Lemme ask you some questions.” I said, “Are you drinking?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “You getting drunk?” He says, “Yeah.” I said, “Are you smoking marijuana?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Are you doing other drugs?” And I steeled myself for the worst. And he responded, and thankfully, he had not gone as far down that path as I thought. That was quite a moment. It was a great moment. You know why I’m telling you this, and you know why John has signed off on it? ‘Cause I want you to know that this happens. And I want you to know … I, I’m not telling you this to tell you that John got in trouble. What I want you to know is that this happened under my own nose while I was out teaching guys on how to raise their family. This isn’t about John. This is about me. What I want you to know is that I got diverted. You see, our job description is clear. And I’ll tell you what, it took about four years for that all to process its way out. We learned a lot of lessons as a family. But I’m gonna tell you something. God has healed what was broken in our home, and there’s a sweetness, and there’s a joy, and we thank the Lord Jesus Christ for that. Listen, if you wanna follow Christ, you think you’re not gonna get attacked? You will get attacked in your family. If the enemy can’t get you, he’s gonna try and get you through your kids. So, then, you, you, you … What happens is, you make these midcourse corrections. You, you see, here’s what the Lord’s saying to us in Deuteronomy 6. You’re to love God deeply. You’re to teach your sons diligently. In other words, as fathers, we are … Catch this, guys. I’m gonna give you two things. We are to be connected instead of distracted. We’re to be connected instead of distracted. I had not meant to get distracted, but it has happened under my nose. Secondly, we are to be intentional instead of passive. Turn with me to 1 Samuel 2, very quickly. You guys still with me?
Dr. Farrar: 1 Samuel 2. 1 Samuel 2, we meet a guy named Eli. Now, we’re in 1 Samuel. So, how does Samuel relate to Eli? Well, Eli was a priest. Eli was a judge. If you recall, young little Samuel, his mother, Hannah, wanted to have a child. She couldn’t. She went up to the temple to pray. Eli thought she was, perhaps, drunk. She told him what she was praying for. Long story short, God gives her a son. She dedicates Samuel to the Lord, and Samuel wound up being raised by Eli in the temple. Now, Eli is described for us in 1 Samuel 2. Notice what it says about his family. 1 Samuel 2:12. It says, “Now, the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.” Now, what’s interesting is that they were priests. They’re worthless men. They did not know the Lord. If you read the next verses, you’ll see that when they were … people would come and offer meat for sacrifice, these sons of Eli would take the best cuts of meat. It’d be like a pastor today letting his boy pilfer through the offering plate. If you look at verse 17, “Thus, the sins of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men despised the offering of the Lord.” Then, if you flip over to verse 22, it says, “Now, Eli was very old, and he heard all that his sons were doing in all Israel, how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.” Not only are these guys stealing, they’re sleeping with women. In verse 27, a man comes to confront Eli, and you can read the words in verse 27 and 28. In 29, he says to Eli, “Why do you kick at my sacrifice and at my offering which I have commanded in my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of my people, Israel? This will be a sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. On the same day, both of them will die.” What a tragic … God was gonna judge his house because he had not judged his own house. You know, the scripture says in Proverbs 19:18, there’s a very practical word to men that says, “Discipline your son while there is hope.” Eli didn’t do it. He knew about it. He didn’t respond. You say, “How do you know that?” Go over to 1 Samuel 3. “When the Lord spoke to Samuel,” remember? Woke him up and he wasn’t sure what was going on? What was that all about? Well, the message that God had to Samuel in speaking to Samuel He says in verse 12, “In that day, I’ll carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house from beginning to end. For I have told him that I’m about to judge his house forever for the inequity which he knew because his sons brought a curse on themselves, and he did not rebuke them.” That’s how he honored them above the Lord. You see, it is the … Wh- what did Deuteronomy 6 say? You’re to teach your sons to fear the Lord. How does a son fear the Lord? Did Eli’s boys fear the Lord? No. You know why they didn’t fear the Lord? Because they didn’t fear their father, because he never rebuked them. I can remember my dad saying, “Steve, come here.” And he’d begin to take his belt off of his pants.
Dr. Farrar: And I said, “Dad, Dad, I, I’m, I’m really sorry, Dad.”
Dr. Farrar: He say, “I know you’re sorry. Come over here.”
Dr. Farrar: “Dad, I- I’m really sorry.” He said d- … And he wasn’t mad. He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t losing his temper, and he didn’t have a belt with a metal tip, like this one. It was just an old black belt. He wasn’t losing it. He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t … He was very calm. He said, “Steve, come here.” “Dad, I- I’m really sorry.” He said, “I know you’re sorry.” He said, “Did we not talk about this?” “Uh-huh. Yeah.” “And did I not say that if you did this, that I’d give you a couple of whacks?” “Yeah, yeah, uh, ah …” “So, uh, i- it was very clear to you?” Uh …
Dr. Farrar: And this is embarrassing, because I’m 23 years old.
Dr. Farrar: No. I wasn’t 23 years old, but you see, when I was young, my dad did that. He wasn’t an abuser. He didn’t hate me. He wasn’t beating me. You know what my dad was trying to do? My dad was trying to teach me that I couldn’t cross authority and get away with it. My dad rebuked me. My dad would discipline me, ’cause he loved me. I kn- … See, fa- … Hey, guys. Catch this. Fathers represent God to their little kids. That’s amazing. Your little kids, you represent God to them. And they need to have a healthy fear. Not a terror. Not that they’re gonna be beaten. But an awe and a respect that, if I cross what he says, there are gonna be consequences. Eli never did that. And he wasted his li- … What a ruin his family became.
John: This is Focus on the Family and that’s the late Steve Farrar, and uh, we have copies of his book, Point Man, and a CD of this entire presentation. You can pass that along to someone. Uh, just call 800-the letter A, and the word, “FAMILY.” 800-232-6459, or donate and request those at our website, FocusontheFamily.com/broadcast. Let’s return now to more from the late Steve Farrar on Focus on the Family.
Dr. Farrar: John came home one day. And he’d been with some friends. He came in. He goes, “Dad, where’s the Jeep?” We live out in the country a little bit. It’s quite a ways to school. I had, had gotten a Jeep so he could drive and take his brother to school. He says, “Where’s my Jeep?” I said, “I gave it away.” He said, “You what?” I said, “I gave it away. There was someone who needed a vehicle. I gave it to him.” He said, “You gave away my Jeep?” I said, “That wasn’t your Jeep. That was my Jeep. I was just letting you use it.” He, he said, “You, you, you …” he couldn’t assimilate this.
Dr. Farrar: Now, now, we di- … That wasn’t the first step. There were steps in between, but, but you see, you disciple according to the transgression. And if there is a refusal to learn, you’ve got to get a little bit more strenuous in your discipline. That’s how God does with us, if you read Hebrews 12. It’d gotten to a point where the irresponsibility had to be checked. Disciple your son while there is hope. Get his attention. “Where’s the Jeep?” “I gave it away.” “We- wh- … Well, how am I gonna get to school?” There was a bus stop out there.
Dr. Farrar: “Well, Rachel had a car when I was, wh- when she was my …” “Yeah. She did. But you know what? Rachel followed this, and this, and this, and this. Rachel showed responsibility. At this point, John, you’re not doing that.” “See, the principle is this. Is that you show responsibility, and you’ll get privileges, but if you don’t show responsibility, you lose privileges.” “Well, Dad, how long is it gonna be?” I said, “Well, before …” I, I, I said, “We’re talking months.” He said, “Months?” I said, “We’re talking maybe close to a year. I wanna see …” And you know what began to happen? We went through a process. Why did I do that? ‘Cause I love this kid. And, and can I tell you something? A while back, John had a job, part-time job. He had to be at work at 5:30 in the morning. You know what? He was there every morning at 5:30. And he was there every morning, on time, 5:30, for two weeks straight. You know what they did? They gave him a raise because they’d never had anybody show up at 5:30 on time.
Dr. Farrar: Now, you know what my job is? Hey. Here’s the thing about boys. Boys never wanna go to bed, do they? Here’s the other thing about boys. They never wanna get out of bed.
Dr. Farrar: So, somebody’s gonna have up to step up to the plate and teach those b- … See, you discipline so that you can move them to self-discipline. That make sense? That’s our job. Some of you guys are sitting here, and I, I’m, I got to close because I’m out of time. I got to say this word. Some of you guys are here, and you say, “Steve, this is breaking my heart because I’ve got a boy who’s 25. He’s not at home anymore.” “I’ve got a boy who’s 35,” or 45, “He’s away from the Lord. Steve, I’m afraid it’s too late.” Can I say this to you? If your boy is still alive, it’s not too late.
Dr. Farrar: And let me say this to you, friend, you get on your face before almighty God, and say, “Lord Jesus, would you help me to reconnect?” It’s gonna be different than when he was 15, “But would you help me to reconnect? Lord, don’t let me be passive. Let me take initiative.” And you know what? God wants to answer this prayer. You say, “How do you know that, Steve?” Because of the last verse of the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:6, which says, “And he,” speaking of John the Baptist, we know that from Luke 1:17, “And he, when he comes, will restore the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” You know what almighty God does? He wants to heal your family. That would delight Him. He’s looking for us to respond and be obedient, and if necessary, deny ourselves. Let’s be those men, guys. Let’s be those men. And you guys with boys at home, you do the job. You love them, your love your wife, you follow Christ with all your heart, you don’t screw around with sin. You be a man of God in integrity. You don’t live one way at church and another way at home. They need to see the truth modeled at home as you follow Christ.
Dr. Farrar: Eddy’s life was going well. He lived in one of the wealthiest areas of all of Chicago. He lived in a gated community. He had servants. He had beautiful gardens. His wife went shopping in a limo. His kids went in a chauffeur to, to school. He was an attorney. His practice … he couldn’t believe the money he was making. He couldn’t believe the quality of his life, but there was just one problem. Eddy was crooked. Eddy had one client by the name of Al Capone. It was Eddy’s job to keep Al Capone out of jail. He was a brilliant attorney, and he did that, but Eddy had a problem. He had a problem with the violence and the murders. It was going too far. And here was the other thing. He had a little boy growing up in his house that he loved dearly, and this little boy looked up to him, and admired him, and respected him. He knew one day that his son was going to lose respect. And it was that fact that caused him to make a change in his life and to go to the police and hand them Capone’s financial records, and when he did that, Al Capone was finished. But Eddy was finished. Because weeks later, walking down a street in Chicago, a car went by, opened up, and a hail of machine gun fire took him down and he lost his life. I fly through O’Hare quite a bit. As you walk through the terminals, there was a memorial, a monument, to Butch O’Hare. They named the airport after him. He was the first, uh, naval pilot to the get the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was the first Ace of World War II. He was on a mission in World War II. He was flying with his squadron. He noticed his gas tank. It, it, it was veering on E. It hadn’t been topped off. The commander instructed him to go back to the fleet. As he’s going back to the fleet, off in the horizon, he sees a Japanese Squadron of Zeros coming in to attack the fleet. He can’t make contact with the fleet. So, single-handedly, he attacks this squadron. He takes out plane after plane, his ammunitions gone. He starts ramming planes. He starts hitting them in their tails. The squadron turns and goes back. He lands. Everything was recorded on the gun camera. He’d taken out five Zeros. A year later, he was killed in another dog fight in a hail of machine gun fire, just as his father was killed by machine gun fire on the streets of Chicago years before. See, a lot of people think that Butch O’Hare is a hero because of what he did in the war. Butch O’Hare thought his father was a hero because at a certain point in his life, his father turned from doing what was wrong and stood up and did what was right, and denied himself, and it cost him his life. That’s what it may take for us, but God will bless us if we’ll do it. Let’s be those men to the glory of God, and let’s, let’s now bow before Him.
Dr. Farrar: Father, we thank you for your Word. For the guys raising kids at home, don’t let them get distracted. If they have been, help them make, make course corrections. We make those all the way through life. Help us not to forget the most important work. Help us get focused. Help us to make the corrections. For the guys with prodigals, bring those prodigals back, we ask in Jesus’ name. Put people around them, let them have circumstances that crush them, whatever it takes. Bring them back as you brought the boy back from scripture and heal their family. You’re the great Father. All of us are imperfect. We make mistakes. You’ve never disappointed us. Teach us how to do our work. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
John: Wow. What a, uh, heartfelt passion you can hear there as we come to the end of a two-part presentation from the late Steve Farrar on Focus on the Family.
Jim: And John, as I said last time, I really appreciated Steve because he made me want to be a better parent. And in today’s presentation, I was so impressed by his reaction to his son, John’s, confession of using alcohol and marijuana in high school. Steve said, “This happened under my own nose while I was out teaching guys how to raise their family.” I, I can only imagine how embarrassing that would be. He went on to say, “What I want you to know is that I got diverted.” And isn’t that refreshingly honest? And Steve’s point was, “We need to be intentional with our kids and take the time to instill in them the ability to navigate these temptations.” It’s easy to focus too much time and effort into our careers, particularly for men. And Steve’s reminding me of my most important job title, and that is Dad. And I must say, uh, he really lived out these principles. As we mentioned, Steve died in February from a sudden cardiac event at the age of 72, and at his memorial service, countless people talked about how he truly walked the walk. And they said he was 100% committed to the Lord, he was 100% committed to his wife, Mary. He wouldn’t even look at another woman. He was very genuine and open with his friends, and he made the effort to stay in touch. And when he was wrong, Steve was never afraid to apologize, even to his kids.
John: Well, those are quite the comments, and what a tribute.
Jim: It is. And our hearts go out to Mary and the family. Uh, so, let me close with this quote from Steve that circulated online soon after he died. It’s so appropriate. He said, “The greatest thing you can leave behind is a life well-lived. No one knows when the finish line is. The very gates of hell cannot make us stumble, unless we choose to remove ourselves from God’s protection and power. We finish strong by fixing our eyes on Jesus.” And I love that. “We finish strong by fixing our eyes on Jesus. And let me encourage you, especially the men, if you wanna finish strong, I’d highly recommend you get a copy of Steve Farrar’s best-selling book called, Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family. It’s a fantastic guidebook. Get a copy of the newly revised edition from us here at Focus on the Family. And when you do, the proceeds go right back into ministry. Join us as a monthly donor with a pledge of any amount, and we’ll send Point Man as our way of saying thank you. And if you can’t make a monthly commitment, that’s okay. We’ll send the book for a one-time gift of any amount. Either way, we wanna put this tool in your hands today.
John: Get your copy of the book, Point Man, when you call 800-the letter A, and the word, “FAMILY.” 800-232-6459. Or visit focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And by the way, if you’re gonna be in Colorado this summer, stop by Colorado Springs and see us. Focus on the Family has a tremendous welcome center with a bookstore and an entire Adventures in Odyssey Whit’s End Play Area. It’s a terrific place to stop. Next time, Dr. Juli Slattery shares encouragement for healthy sexuality in your marriage.
Dr. Juli Slattery: What I’ve learned in the last 10 years of ministering on sexual issues is that most of us have the wrong picture of what God designed sex to be, and we don’t even realize it.
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