If a Man be in Christ….
About the Guest
In Christ you are a new creation. Many years have passed since Wayne Huizenga, Jr. committed his life to Christ. Today Wayne talks to Dennis Rainey about how his life, as well as his family’s, has changed since Christ became His Lord and Savior.
Wayne HuizengaWayne Huizenga, Jr. is the President of Huizenga Holdings, Inc., a diversified company that manages and owns the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League and Dolphin Stadium in South Florida as well as investments in resorts and real estate. Wayne Jr. is married to his childhood sweetheart, Fonda Hix. They have four children: Savannah, Tres (Wayne, III), Gerritt and Ainsley. The Huizenga family regularly attend Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale.
In Christ you are a new creation.
If a Man be in Christ….
Bob: This is Bob Lepine from FamilyLife Today. Before we start today's broadcast, we are here to have a heart-to-heart talk with our listeners, Dennis.
Dennis: That's right, Bob. In fact, in the midst of these challenging financial times, this is not a time for a ministry to families to retreat. I am more committed than ever that the family is the most basic unit of society, and that we must return to our biblical roots and to the person of Jesus Christ as the builder of our homes. But to do that and for us to stay on this station, I need our listeners' help. I need you to help us by writing a check to FamilyLife Today and say, "You know what, guys? I stand with you."
Bob: Or you can call, toll-free, 1-800-FLTODAY, make a donation over the phone – 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. You can also donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com and however you get in touch with us, we hope to hear from you, and we do appreciate your financial support.
Dennis: We do, and I want to say thanks to those of you who are able to step up and stand with us right now and for all the rest of you who can't perhaps give right now, would you pray for us? We sure appreciate your prayers as well.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. I know I've already gotten myself into trouble this week with talking like this …
Dennis: Not once.
Bob: It just occurred to me …
Dennis: Multiple times you have offended our guest on today's program.
Bob: Well, it occurred to me as we have been talking this week, our guest could have had – are you ready? A wasted life.
It could have been a real waste. All right, enough of that.
Wayne: Oh, dear. That's three.
Dennis: That is three – it is three, but who's counting, Wayne?
Wayne: Yeah, yeah.
Dennis: Well, Wayne Huizenga, Jr., joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Wayne, welcome back. I'm impressed you came back.
Bob: Given the previous treatment.
Wayne: No, it's an honor. You are skilled, and that's good.
Dennis: He is skilled, he is skilled.
Wayne: I know what God means when He says the tongue is sharper than a double-edged sword now.
Dennis: You've now felt it. And the reason for this, Bob?
Bob: Oh, the reason I make this pun …
Dennis: The listeners do not understand the pun.
Bob: They don't understand. Your father, Wayne, Sr., was the founder of the largest waste management company in the world, probably, right?
Wayne: Yes, in the world – waste management.
Bob: Waste Management Incorporated, WMI. If your trucks – do they still call them garbage trucks in town?
Wayne: Yeah, they're garbage trucks, refuse trucks.
Bob: If your refuse trucks in your town have a big "WMI" on them, it's because of Wayne, Sr., and so the whole idea of you could have had a wasted life – and as we've talked, part of your life was wasted.
Wayne: Very much so. I wish I would have had those years back, but as I've learned that God will redeem the years, and that His timing was perfect, but I look back, and I go, "Wow, I wish I had – that had happened 10 or 20 years earlier in my life."
Bob: The turnaround, the spiritual turnaround in your life happened in what year?
Wayne: In November of 2000.
Bob: Okay, and your wife was a year and a half later, 18 months later, right?
Wayne: She was, she was about 17 or 18 months after my awakening.
Bob: And you had three children at the time?
Wayne: I had three children at the time, and my wife's timing of her conversion, she was pregnant with our fourth, and I'm happy to say it was all in the front.
Dennis: And there was something that occurred that brought her to faith in Christ or at least was a key component of her coming to faith in Christ that really is an event that touched all of us. But you don't think of this bringing someone to faith in Christ like it did your wife?
Wayne: It's so true. We were at home. I had a meeting at home that day, September 11, 2001. I had no idea what was occurring. I was in my office, the TV was off, she was upstairs exercising, and the TV was on mute, and she thought at first it was a trailer for a movie or something they were making. Then she saw the second impact, was intrigued, turned the volume up and realized what had happened.
And in the moments that followed, I had been reading to her the "Left Behind" series, and she came running down to my office in a full-blown asthma attack and came through the doors, and I'm looking at her, like, "What's the matter?" And she is gasping, trying to tell me what had not only happened in New York, but also that I'm still here – she got out, finally – "You're still here." And I was, like, "Well, we have a meeting in a little while, of course, I'm still here," and she went on to tell me what had happened, and we tuned in and were horrified as the rest of the country was.
Later she told me the rest of the story. She told me that it was then that she really expected to hit my door and for me to be gone, and she was left behind and thus started her journey of going through the Bible and trying to figure out if it was all true, all the things that Jesus had said, and realizing that it, in fact, was, and leading her ultimately to invite her girlfriends from her covenant Bible group, the Bible Babes, as she affectionately calls them, to meet her at church and she came with me that night and waited until the end and didn't tell me, and she said, "I'm ready to walk forward tonight," and I got to go with her when she committed her life to Christ, and it was wonderful.
Bob: Now, your children were still young at this time. Did they pick up on any difference with Mom and Dad, or were they really too young to discern that there was a difference that had taken place?
Wayne: No, we have a gap between our first two and our second two – that's seven years. And so my older two definitely noticed, and they noticed that Daddy didn't sit by the pool and drink beer like he used to, and they noticed that Daddy was more even-tempered, and they noticed a change early on and, in fact, began to talk to me about it.
And where my son originally had wanted to – you know, would try to take a sip of my beer – now that I didn't drink anymore, he no longer had a desire to try beer, either, and it really was quite an awakening for me of how moldable and pliable they were and the things that they were observing. And I thought, "He doesn't notice that I'm drinking beer rather than soda. He has no idea." He had every idea, and he knew exactly what I was doing and noticed how my behavior would change throughout the day.
Bob: And those spiritual conversations that they would initiate – that had to be exciting for you.
Wayne: It was tremendous, and it was really, really exciting, and God went on to do an incredible work. I met Luis Pulau, the famous evangelist, and my daughter gave her life to Christ at a fundraiser we did at our house, and my son gave his life to Christ on the side stage of the Luis Pulau festival the second night of the show. He came up to me and was pulling on my arm, and I looked down at him, a little bit annoyed, as Luis was getting ready to present the Gospel, and I said, "Yeah, son?" He said, "Dad, how do I ask Jesus to come into my heart?" And I choked up and thought, "Wow." I said, "Well, son, you just tell Him that you love Him very much, and that you want Him to come and live in your heart, and He will, and Mommy and I and you will all be together, and Sissy will all be together in heaven someday. And in just a second, Uncle Luis is going to pray, and you – we'll pray that simple prayer together."
And he did, and we had the child – the age-appropriate counseling materials. I had trained to be a counselor, and I thought, "I'm going to counsel someone else," and God said, "No, no. Because you were faithful, and you did this event and all, you're going to get to counsel your son." And I realized then that he is very much like his mother. As I dwelled too long on one page, he said, "Yeah, yeah, I got it, Dad. Let's go to the next page." "You're just like your mother, a fast learner."
Dennis: There was a person in your life who had prayed for you and had prayed for the spiritual awakening.
Dennis: Tell that story. Doreen – we are blessed to have been able to have a helper, a caregiver to help us to raise our children, and Miss Doreen, and she's a wonderful lady from Jamaica, and she'd been with us – she's been with us now for 14 years, and when I shared with her what had happened in my life, she began to cry, and she told me that she had been praying for me for years that I would come to have this saving knowledge of Christ because she realized although I called myself a Christian that I was not living a Christian life and that there was no victory in my life and no joy.
And she began to weep, and we hugged, and my wife jokes that we are two big crybabies. And I said, "Well, I'm in good company because Andrew Pulau, Luis's son, is a big crybaby, too." And I think that we would be driving along, and we'd talk, and we'd both start to weep. And she was like, "What is up with you guys?" "Honey, just being saved and knowing that God loves us so much is so overwhelming at times." I said, "They are happy tears, but I just am so amazed. I liken it to going to the Humane Society and seeing the animals, the dogs and whatnot, sitting in their little cages, and the ones at the front are the new arrivals, and when you get to the very back, those are the ones that "if you don't adopt me soon, I'm going to go on to wherever pets go when they are no longer on this earth," and they get anesthetized.
I think I was in that last cage, and God came in and looked, and He looked at all the other pretty dogs and said, "Well, this one is pretty wounded and a stray and mangy but, you know what? I'm going to take him home." I go, "Wow, you would take me, the ugly dog, home," and I want to try to do everything that I can to show my appreciation every day for what He has done in my life.
Bob: Wayne, you said that your dad went to a Christian college, went to Calvin College for two years. He built a business – I mean, it's a classic American entrepreneur story where he was hauling trash in the morning, selling new customers in the afternoon, and fixing the truck at night, right?
Bob: And you worked with him, side-by-side, for years in the business, and really admired, loved, respected, honored your dad. When you came to faith, what did your dad think?
Wayne: I'm not sure he knew what to think. I think he was proud. I think that he respected the change that happened in my life. I took business much more seriously. I became more focused on family, and I think that he really respected that. I became the president of our holdings company about a year after that, and shortly thereafter he called me in one day, and he said, "Son, I've been thinking." He said, "Maybe you should think about going back to school. Maybe you should go to the seminary and learn to be a minister."
And I thought to myself, "Oh, boy, I must have blown it big. I'm doing a bad job at running the company," and Dad's going, you know, "Let's try to get him out of here and put somebody more qualified in." Well, after he and I covered that that wasn't necessarily the case – not that I was doing a great job, but that I was not doing such a poor job that I needed to move on.
He went on to explain to me, he said, "You're so passionate about God that I just thought that maybe you felt like you should go and be a minister." And I said, "Dad, I've been counseled by, I think, some very wise people that have told me just the opposite and said to me that I needed to stay in business because there were many, many people that would never darken the door of a church, but that would be impacted by my life and that I was to live my life as a Christian witness in business, and to bring light to an area that often people compartmentalize."
Dennis: Your relationship with our dad – did it change for the positive then, would you say? Even though he was talking about your career maybe taking a twist?
Wayne: It deepened, and I think in the respect that I realized that I had – I was the steward of something very special that God created through him, and that I really needed to take that seriously and that it was all his, and I needed to do a better job managing it, and I needed to submit and honor my father more. And I think that it showed me how to love him even deeper than I already did.
Dennis: And it sounds like your life had an impact on him.
Wayne: Very much so. You know, we don't really talk about it. My wife would say that my father packs a tight suitcase, and that he's very close to the vest about his feelings, but he – Christ lives in his heart, and he is growing spiritually. Again, I don't know exactly when it happened, and I am hesitant to even speak about it on the radio, but I think that it's okay. He has helped me to do some outreaches recently, and is professing his faith, and it happened around the time that Luis Pulau came to town and Luis graciously spent several hours with my father and prompted me to share my testimony in a group that included my father, and I am just so thankful knowing that my father will join me in heaven, or that I will join him in heaven, whichever of us should go first.
Dennis: You know, and I just want to compliment you again at the point of becoming a follower of Christ, your conscientiousness of being a good worker for your father as the president of the family company. I think that's a great testimony. It spoke your father's love language at that point, because that's what he valued, but, at the same time, you were uncompromising in your commitment to Christ.
I want to talk about your mom because it was really your mom that started this whole journey out in the first place. She came to you and said, "You know, I'm concerned about how you're raising your kids. You're not giving them a spiritual foundation, you're not grounding them," as we laughed about earlier.
There was something happened after you came to faith in Christ around your mom that was really special.
Wayne: Absolutely, Dennis, thank you. We always hear that God's timing is perfect, and in this instance, it truly was. Within a couple of weeks of my awakening, my spiritual awakening, my mother got sick, and we didn't know what it was. All we knew was that was getting weaker and weaker. So I talked with my wonderful bride, and I said, "Can we move mom in for a while," because she was living alone. She can't take care of herself right now.
And she moved in with us, and we began going to the doctors, and at first they thought she had an infection in her lung. Then the word "cancer" started to get whispered about, and they set off to do some biopsies and tests and kept coming up negative, and we were praying that it would be negative, and they were coming up negative, and she kept getting weaker and weaker, and finally they said, "Listen, we need to go in, and we need to take out half of her left lung and get rid of this infection, because otherwise it's going to kill her."
And she was so sick that she said, "Absolutely, that's fine, whatever we need to do." I sent her off into surgery, and the doctor came out a couple of hours later, and he didn't have the happy face on, you know, and sometimes you see on TV, and "things didn't go well" face on, and I said, "Doctor, what happened?" And he said, "Well, we took your mom's entire left lung out." I said, "Well, that wasn't the plan." And he said, "Well, we found a cancer in there, and it was in her left lung," and I said, "Good, so we got it all?" Then he said, "No, it's in her adrenal gland, and it's in some of her other organs, and, in hindsight now, her PET scan showed some spots on her brain, and we believe that those are cancerous tumors on her brain as well.
And I said, "Okay, so let's cut to the chase. Can we make her better?" And they said, "No, she's terminal, and she only has some months to live." And we went on from there, and as difficult as it was, it was probably the most wonderful time that my mom and I spent. She raised two boys, and boys and moms are close, so I've always been close to my mom, but this was a special time because I knew that Christ lived in her heart and she would go to heaven. She now knew that Christ lived in my heart, and that I would join her in heaven, and so we had hope when we would go to chemotherapy. We'd sing hymns together in the car – a voice only a mother could love.
We'd witness to other people at radiation. We'd read or Bible, and we'd share with them why we had hope, why we knew that this wasn't the end. And about nine months to the day, almost, after she moved in with us, she went to be with our Father in heaven. And it was a tough time, but it was also a wonderful time.
But God's perfect timing – I couldn't have gone through those things without it.
Dennis: You gave an explanation for the hope that was within you.
Wayne: And believed it.
Bob: And as you walked through the valley of the shadow, again and again and again, He was with you.
Bob: Because I have been in those moments, and you walk into them sometimes, and you go, "I don't know what I'm going to say," and somehow God gives you the words to say, and you think about the promises of the Scriptures, you think about what this day and what this week is all about– about the cross and about the Resurrection and why there is hope beyond the grave because of what Christ has done.
I know you've gotten an assignment for Wayne before we conclude here today, but let me just encourage our listeners – there is a wonderful book by our friend, C.J. Mahaney. It's called "Living the Cross-Centered Life," and it's one of those books that helps us see what it means to live the Gospel day in and day out and why the Gospel is not just something we believe one time, and then we're saved, and we never need to think about it again.
But meditating on the cross and on the Resurrection, is something that we need to be doing daily. We need to be preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily. We have copies of C.J.'s helpful book in our FamilyLife Resource Center. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and there is information about the book available there. Or call us, toll-free, at 1-800-FLTODAY, 1-800-358-6329, and someone on our team can let you know how you can have a copy of this book sent to you.
And let me say a word of thanks very quickly to those of you who have, in the past, helped support the ministry of FamilyLife Today with your contributions. Our financial needs continue day in and day out, and your donations to this ministry are very much appreciated. We are listener-supported, and without those donations we could not continue to air this program on this station or on our network of stations all across the country.
And this week when you make a donation of any amount to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we want to send you a DVD that tells the story of many women in the time of Jesus whose lives intersected with the Savior and were transformed by the Savior. This DVD is being used all over the world to share the Good News of the Gospel with tens of thousands of women and men worldwide, and it's our gift to you when you make a donation of any amount this week to support the work of FamilyLife Today.
If you are donating online, type the word "Magdalena" into the keycode box – m-a-g-d-a-l-e-n-a, Magdalena, or call 1-800-FLTODAY, and when you make your donation via telephone, you can ask for a copy of the DVD. Again, it's our way of saying thank you for your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We appreciate you. Dennis?
Dennis: It's been our privilege today, and all this week to be able to be talking to Wayne Huizenga, Jr., and, Wayne, it has been a privilege to hear the story of God working in your heart. You have mentioned the impact of your mom and of your stepmother and your father in your life. And your stepmother and your dad are still alive?
Wayne: They are, and they've been together for 35 years now. In a time I didn't understand why Dad got divorced and why he got remarried, but I am so glad that he did, because my stepmother, who I call "Mom," has been such a blessing and has really helped to fill that tremendous void that I had when I lost my birth mother – to have another mother there that would love me and care for me was fantastic, and I understood why God allowed all those things to happen.
Dennis: Well, I'm going to give you a chance to say thank you, because here is what I want to ask you to do. We're going to close the broadcast with you giving not one but two tributes – a tribute to your stepmom for how she has ministered to you, and a tribute to your dad. And just give them a tribute here as we close the broadcast to talk about the power of the family and the power of how God uses our mother and father in our lives.
Wayne: Okay. Mom, thank you for coming into my life, for being such a rock for Dad all these years when he was busy traveling; for being an incredible glue that held our family together through the difficult times; for loving me like your own; for loving my children as your grandchildren and for really stepping up and being there when I lost my birth mother; for being that wonderful second mom that I so truly needed for loving on me and caring for me; for the words of wisdom, the cards, always being there and just knowing when to call and what to say. I love you more than you'll ever know, and I'm so thankful that you're part of our lives and complete our family.
Dad, some people say that when they hear me talk about divorce that I am bitter that you and Mom got divorced – not at all. I am thankful for the experiences, because they've shaped me and helped me be the man that I am. I love you so, so much. I am so proud of you and honored that you're my Pop, and trying to live up to the example that you have set in my life. And I'm so grateful that you would entrust me to be a part of the family business and so into me the way you do and would be patient as I've made numerous mistakes. Some of them have cost our family what would someone consider fortunes, and you never yelled. You've been patient, and you've been nurturing, and you've been forgiving, and those are traits that I hope to display to my children the same way that you have me. I love you so, so much, and I am so proud that you're my dad, and I'm so proud that we will be together forever in heaven. I love you more than words can ever say, and I hope to see you soon. I love you both very, very much. Thank you for the way you're so in our lives. And thank you, Jesus, for both of my wonderful parents that are living and for my mother that is in heaven with you today. What a blessing to have a pair and a spare. Thank you, Father.
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