‘The Lifestyle of the Redeemed, Rich, and Famous
About the Guest
Today on the broadcast, former Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr, along with his wife, Treena, tell Dennis Rainey how God finally got their attention and changed their indulgent lifestyle into an "out dulgent" lifestyle that meets the needs of others.
Today on the broadcast, former Galloping Gourmet, Graham Kerr, along with his wife, Treena, tell Dennis Rainey how God finally got their attention and changed their indulgent lifestyle into an “out dulgent” lifestyle that meets the needs of others.
‘The Lifestyle of the Redeemed, Rich, and Famous
Bob: You remember the television show, "The Galloping Gourmet," with Graham Kerr? Do you know at one time Graham Kerr was the most recognizable television personality in the world? Well, Graham Kerr knew it, and that was not good for his spiritual health. Here is his wife, Treena.
Treena: Graham was a nice person. You know, he was one of those people that are a good person. He was into things, and he liked money, and he wanted to be a success, and he did have a bit of – a big ego, actually. That's why I thought it would take him quite a long time to come and know Jesus.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, January 22nd. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. So when you're rich and famous and a good person, how does God get your attention?
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us. I knew we were going to be in trouble, because – and our listeners don't realize this – but you fancy yourself as something of a practitioner of the culinary arts, don't you?
Dennis: You might call me a good chap in the kitchen.
Bob: And I've always kind of taken that as just …
Dennis: I've got two good dishes.
Bob: I've always taken that as …
Dennis: But I can work them, I can work them, Bob.
Bob: … puffery. I always thought you were just kind of puffing yourself up until I had your blackened salmon, and it was really very good.
Dennis: I have to tell our guests, Graham and Treena Kerr join us on FamilyLife Today. Graham, Treena, welcome to the broadcast.
Treena: Thank you very much for having us.
Graham: Thank you very much.
Dennis: Bob has really bad-mouthed my cooking for years.
Bob: Without trying it, I was just bad-mouthing it because he was bragging about it.
Dennis: And so I made him some of my blackened salmon, and I found him. He'd completely wrapped his lips around the entire plate.
Bob: It was really quite good.
Graham: That is a capacious mouth to do that, unless it was a very small plate.
Dennis: We won't go anywhere with that, trust me. Well, we have the Galloping Gourmet joining us on FamilyLife Today, and for some of our listeners who don't know who that is, you might say you were a bit of a pioneer in a food show on television, wouldn't you say?
Graham: Oh, yes. You know, we were the pioneers, because I was sort of the cook who was wound up and shoved on and madam here was the producer who said "You are the most unutterably boring man in the entire world and need to do something about that." I was 26 years old, and I said, "Well, if you're so clever, why don't you do it." This was before the Lord.
And Treena said, "I will," and stormed down to New Zealand Broadcasting House at the time where we were.
Dennis: And how long was that television program, "The Galloping Gourmet" on?
Graham: Well, do you know, really, that Galloping Gourmet, which we like to say is a television program rather than a person. It was a construction, and that was 427 episodes. It started in '68, and the first-run programs finished off in about '72.
Dennis: And so you could help me with my two dishes.
Graham: If I could, maybe. I mean, I'm not sure that I want to go there.
Dennis: You could expand …
Bob: … expand the repertoire?
Graham: I could certainly expand your horizons.
Dennis: I don't want to expand my waist, though, so it's just good that I've got these two, you know?
Graham: Excellent, that I can help with.
Dennis: Well, you've written a book called "Recipe for Life," and it's subtitled, "How to Change Habits that Harm into Resources that Heal." And they also have been married 51 years, right?
Dennis: Isn't that cool?
Graham: Yeah, that's right, and this is our first real book together, as well. So we're joint authors.
Dennis: I want to take you to, really, the core of your story, which begins with Treena's conversion to Christ, and you saying that God turned out all the lights.
Dennis: In your life.
Graham: Yes, completely. All I knew was that I had an encounter with a physician who came to me and said, "You know, I'm a Roman Catholic, I believe in miracles. I've never been able to see one that I haven't been able to medically disprove somehow." Oh, yeah, well, that happened because of this or that.
And then his eyes filled up with tears, and he said, "But I have to tell you that in this case I cannot give you an adequate explanation. God has reached into your life and your family, and you have a miracle – Treena is a miracle."
And that was it. He said, "You just need to face up to that." So I went out in the garden, went up to a big tree that was there and discussed this with the tree. I know this is somewhat odd, but there we are. And I said, "I know God made you, and I know God made me, and I know God made Treena but, as far as I'm concerned, the only one who has a personal relationship with you is Treena" and said, "I would like a miracle like she's had."
And nothing stirred, and I thought, "Well, that's it." I turned and looked at the house, which was a gabled, marvelous – it had 10,800 square foot colonial mansion on the Chesapeake Bay, and it – all I can say to you is that I got my miracle immediately and didn't know it. What happened was when I asked for a miracle, God did precisely what was necessary for my life, and that was turn off all the lights.
I believe there are manufactured lights in things – watches and clothes and cars and all the rest of the things. They are designed to be desired, and that pinpoint of light in everything designed to be desired went out. There was nothing that was to be desired including my career. The only thing that was going on is Treena's eyes. Because when she came to the Lord, they lit up; I mean, they literally sparkled. There was a light there, she saw it.
Dennis: Yeah, in fact, you said from that garden you walked back into your unlit house, past your unlit pool …
Graham: Yes, the unlit car and the unlit boats to my one lit wife.
Dennis: To your one lit wife. What had taken place in your life, Treena? You had met the Savior, and He changed your life. He'd redeemed you from …
Treena: I was the most awful person. I was very angry. I had a violent temper. I was a medical drug addict, and I was full of rejection and full of anger, and this little black girl came into our house to help us. Her name was Ruthie. We're still in touch with her, by the way, and she said to me one day, she said, "Mrs. Kerr, I'm going to heaven." And I said, "Well, that's very nice for you." And she said, "Wouldn't you like to go to heaven, too?" And I said, "Well, darling, I’m Christian. I was baptized in England." She said, "What's that?" I said, "Sprinkled." She said, "Oh, I don't mean that. I mean dying to your sins."
And, anyway, she said, "Would you like to come to church and be baptized?" And I said, "Well, Graham's going away on Monday. We're going to the movies on Monday night, so what about Tuesday?" And it was a very windy, very, very cold night, and I took my daughter because I didn't know what I was getting used to.
Anyway, I get into this little church full of black people – all these black people had come from Ruthie's church, which is in Delaware, 100 miles away, to see this white lady that they'd been fasting and praying for, and I get into this church, and I'm sitting on the seat, and I – the big black pastor, he said to me before I'd sat down, he said, "Do you know what you're doing?" And I said, "I most certainly do," in my very best English voice, and he said, "Well, you might not get it tonight." And I said, "I most certainly will." And Ruthie said, "Yes, she's ready for it," whatever "it" was.
So I changed into her white gown, and I sit on this pew, and I was looking at this bath water, and the pastor kept on praying, and he said, "All the angels in heaven are going to be rejoiced," and I didn't know, really, what the heck he was talking about. And so we all stood up and, suddenly, just before I was to get in the water, I was really, literally, pushed on my knees. And it wasn't anybody. And as my knees hit the floor, this torrent of water – it wasn't tears, it was just like two taps being turned on, and I heard myself saying, "I'm sorry, Jesus; forgive me, Jesus."
Now I swore Jesus's name all the time, and I was saying this, and then the pastor said, "Come and get into the water." So I got – and this water was freezing – not like somebody I know who has warm water, which had to be Graham, and that mine was ice cold water, and I got under this ice, was dunked in this water, and I got up, and I got the giggles and the pastor said, "Have you received it, yet?" And I said, "No, but something very strange happened. I was thrown onto my knees just now," and he said, "Well, would you like to tarry?" And I said, "What's tarry?" And he said, "That's waiting for the Holy Ghost." And I thought, "Well, I might as well, as I'm there."
And so I said, "What do I do?" And he said, "You just kneel down, and you say 'thank you, Jesus,' for the gift He is going to give you." So I knelt down, and I was saying, "Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus," and I didn't believe in Jesus at all. And, suddenly, this light came on my face, and I opened my eyes, and there was the most beautiful man I've ever seen, and He was smiling in that incredible smile that encompassed all relationships that had gone wrong in one's life, and He came forward, and He put His hand on my heart, and then He disappeared," and then the pastor said, "Have you received it yet?" And I said, "I don't know, but I've just seen somebody," and he said, "Well, you can come beckon at the day, sister," and then all these black brothers and sisters came and greeted me into the family, and my daughter, at this time, who I had taken with me, had run out of the church, and when I got – found her, finally, she said, "Mummy, that's awful. That is evil."
I said, "If that's evil, I like it." I said, "I feel great." She said, "Well, I hope you're not going to behave like that." And I said, "Well, that's the way they behave," I said, "but, you know, there's nothing wrong with it." And so she drove me home, because she didn't trust me, and Ruthie was going another way, so I got into bed, and I'd picked up the Bible I had purchased under Ruthie's tuition, "Go and get one with red writing in, because that's what Jesus said," so I started reading it for the first time in my life and woke up with the thump on the floor, because I'd gone to sleep.
And I heard this little voice saying, "You have it." And so I ran upstairs to Tessa, and I said, "I've got it, I've got it." She said, "What you've got?" I said, "I don't know, but I have got it." And that was it.
Dennis: You were healed of your drug addiction.
Treena: Listen, I was – when I went back, I threw all my drugs down the toot, the loo, you understand, the lavatory, whatever you call it, the john. And I put them all the way down, threw everything down, and it was like a rainbow, and I threw them all away, all away. My drug addicts, and I was on …
Graham: Sixty-five milligrams of Valium a day at that time, and that's why the physician said, "She is a miracle, because you cannot go overnight off that kind of a mix and not go into a coma." And she not only not went into a coma, she had a great night's sleep, never has had a sleeping pill since or any of those other medications in order to be able help her life.
Treena: He is my witness, you see.
Bob: I understand.
Graham: Yeah, and the whole family came to the Lord. I mean, you know, we were all …
Treena: All within three months.
Graham: … definitely oppressed by this woman. You know, when I say "oppressed" she changed our attitude every day towards life, because life was a misery, and life was a constant barrage of unpredictable hostilities – just awful. And here emerged one night a loving and kind and gentle person who we just all fell in love with and said, "This is our mum, our mother," and everything else. This is the woman we've all felt was there but wasn't.
Bob: You know, I have often wondered as I have met folks or driven in neighborhoods where there are 10,000-square-foot homes and boats and swimming pools and cars. I've often wondered how much anger is behind those walls or how much pain is behind those walls, because you can have all of the trappings of the good life and not have the good life, can't you?
Graham: Yeah, I think it – well, it sometimes depends upon whether those trappings were taken on in order for people to think well of them. Especially, if that's the case, then that is a serious problem, I think, and that's because that was the problem I had.
I wore every possession I had as part of an appearance because I was on a ladder, you see, a huge, long ladder, and as far as the Galloping Gourmet was concerned, I was on the top right-hand side of that ladder, smiling and waving at the crowd. And this little fellow had about [audio break] called "character" was ahead about two rungs up on the other side, and I desperately wanted to be able to look through the rungs of the ladder in my own face, and I couldn't.
And so because of that, I simply built up this fictionary person so that I did seem to be a whole person.
Bob: So who we saw on TV was not you?
Graham: Well, to some extent it was, yeah.
Treena: It was, because Graham was a nice person, you know? He was one of those people that are a good person, and he didn't have a temper. He was into things. He liked money, and he wanted to be a success, and he did have a bit of – a big ego, actually. That's why I thought it would take him quite a long to come and know Jesus, but it didn't.
Dennis: Well, I want to know how long it did take for you to come to know Christ?
Graham: Three months.
Dennis: Three months?
Graham: Yes, but then, you see, I had the best witness in the world who said nothing to me – no tracts, no "Jesus loves you," in Vaseline on the shaving mirror so that when the whole bathroom steams up, it only leaves that. We know people who go around Holiday Inns doing that, by the way.
Dennis: So Treena did not saying anything to you to preach …
Dennis: … to preach to you?
Graham: Oh, no, no, no, no, absolutely nothing.
Dennis: She knew that a big ego needed to fall hard, but it needed to fall by God slicing it down.
Treena: Well, you know, the thing I used to say to Ruthie, I said, "We've just got to pray for him," which we used to get into the broom cupboard and pray, and I said, "But, you know, he is competitive, and he'll want what I have from Jesus. We don't have to say anything."
Dennis: And so how did you come to faith in Christ then?
Graham: Just simply that day, by walking away from my things. For having all of the lights go out, I walked for 30 days, exactly, from that day when I asked God for a miracle and received it, not knowing it was. And I was so then away of Treena's miracle and so completely dissatisfied with all the things that had satisfied me before, that I was left on my knees in the Four Seasons Hotel in Ottawa – in Canada, where I was doing a recording, shouting at the ceiling and saying, "I want a personal relationship with You, and I want it now."
I am pleased to tell you that He didn't respond to that, you know, this was not a sort of room service request. But I focused on where the corner of the ceiling meets the wall and about the closest thing to a cross I could find in that room, and then, in a much more pliant way said, "What do I have to say to You to get to know You like Treena?"
And then, out of my mouth, without a breath being taken, I just heard myself say "Jesus? I love You," and I heard it and, as I say it now, I mean, just waves of emotion just sweep over one's body.
Dennis: You know, as I listen to your story, I just marvel at what happens when Jesus Christ takes up residence in a person's life. Wherever He goes, He changes people, He changes things.
Treena: He certainly does.
Dennis: And there's a verse I've been meditating on and trying to start out each day with – Galatians 2:20 – "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself up for me."
Graham: We were asked once in the youth for the mission training system if you have been crucified with Christ, how do you think that happens – actually, logically – how do you think that – go away now, spend this hour thinking about that and come back, and then we'll carry on.
So I went away, and I'm a very visual person, so I looked at the cross, and I thought to myself, "Lord, if I'm crucified with you, was I tacked on first?" "No." "After?" "No, no." And I'm walking 'round the back of the cross, and there I was, shielded from public view completely, not the object at all. But I was nailed up there, and it was the most awful thing you have ever seen – I have ever seen. And I said, "Oh, God, that's just awful. What does it mean?" "Oh," He said, "You've confessed your sins. You've taken these to the cross, and I've forgiven you. What you see now is what remains that you think looks pretty good. And so, if you like, I'd like you to leave that there and come and follow Me."
Dennis: And when we follow Him.
Graham: No, now we follow Him.
Graham: It's precisely that Scripture, and you can't follow Him unless He lives within you.
Dennis: Yeah, and He lives in and through us, His image does begin to emerge from us, and you're looking more and more like a servant these days.
Graham: Thank you.
Treena: Oh, please.
Graham: Thank you.
Bob: You know, I could sit around with a whole bunch of people and just hear those stories like we've heard, couldn't you do it all day long? Because I never get tired of hearing people share about the transforming work of God in their lives. And I'm thinking of some of our listeners, Dennis, who have not experienced that transformation. You know, at the heart of the Gospel, there is a change that takes place. Our life is exchanged for the life of Christ. His death is offered as payment for our penalty, and we receive new life. And that's what the two of you have been talking about – the new life you've received from Jesus Christ.
If any of our listeners have not experienced the transforming power of God to change a life like you've described today, there is a booklet that we'd like to send you. In fact, we talked about this last week. It's a booklet called "Pursuing God," and it helps you understand how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and how to walk in that relationship, how to grow in your understanding of who He is and grow closer to Him and be transformed by His power in your life.
If you'd like a copy of that book, call us at 1-800-FLTODAY. We'd love to send it to you at no cost for anyone who is interested in beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ. Call 1-800-358-6329, 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY, ask for the free book "Pursuing God." We would love to send it to you and help you however we can as you begin to get to know Jesus Christ in a personal relationship with Him – the kind that Graham and Treena have talked about today.
There is also information about this book on our website, FamilyLife.com. You can go there. There's a red button in the middle of the home page that says "Go" on it, and if you click that button, it will take you to a page where there is information about the book, "Pursuing God." There is also information about the book the Kerrs have written called "Recipe for Life, How to Change Habits that Harm into Resources that Heal," and, in fact, we want to talk about that as we continue our conversation with the two of you this week.
But for our listeners who are interested in your new book, "Recipe for Life," it's available from us at our website at FamilyLife.com. Click the red button that says "Go" on the home page, and that will take you right to the area of the site where there is more information about these resources and other resources that are available from us here at FamilyLife.
You can also call 1-800-FLTODAY for more information about these resources. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.
Those of you who are regular listeners to our program probably know that FamilyLife Today is listener-supported. We're a nonprofit organization, and it's folks like you who listen and who believe in what we're doing who make this program possible in your community and in other cities all around the country. You do that through your financial support of our program, and coming up later this week on many of these same stations, we're going to be talking about how you can help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today on a regular monthly basis as a Legacy Partner.
We have a handful of listeners who do that now. They send donations each month to help support this ministry, and this week we're hoping that more of you will consider becoming a Legacy Partner. We're going to talk about that on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, again, on most of these same stations. So tune in and hear about that.
Or if you'd like more information right now about being a Legacy Partner, go to our website, FamilyLife.com, click that red "Go" button we talk about, and that will take you right to the page where there's a link to give you information about becoming a Legacy Partner. And we hope many of you will consider joining with some of your neighbors who are already doing that and helping FamilyLife Today to be able to continue in this city and in other cities all across the country.
Well, tomorrow Graham and Treena Kerr are going to be back with us. We're going to talk about living out-dulgently – not indulgently but out-dulgently, and I love what you guys have to say on this subject. I hope our listeners can be back with us for this tomorrow.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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