Why Godly Legacies Matter
About the Guest
It's easy to spot today's problems--disintegration of the family, divorce, crime, and loss of core values like integrity and trust. What's more difficult is to find solutions to these issues. Pastor and author Crawford Loritts' two-pronged solution is both simple and novel. First, live out integrity. Second, pass it on to the next generation.
Crawford LorittsCrawford Loritts (B.S., D.Th., Philadelphia Biblical University; D.Div., Biola University) was the senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. He has served as a national evangelist with the American Missionary Fellowship and the Urban Evangelistic Mission, and as Associate Director of Campus Crusade for Christ. He co-founded Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. He is a frequent speaker for professional sports teams, including three Super Bowls and the NCAA Final Four...more
It’s easy to spot today’s problems. What’s more difficult is to find solutions to these issues. Pastor and author Crawford Loritts’ two-pronged solution is both simple and novel.
Why Godly Legacies Matter
Bob: Do you believe that America is a country in need of a cultural transformation? Dr. Crawford Loritts says that begins at home.
Crawford: We have to look beyond our contemporary context. We have to stop quoting power and start focusing on transformation of human lives and realize that, out of the incubator of our home, by God’s grace, will rise up spiritual health and spiritual strength that will serve as guideposts—and not simply reflectors—to society for succeeding generations.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, November 13th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. The best way to change the world is to be intentional about the legacy you will leave. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. Aren’t you tired of this guy yet—this Crawford fellow?
Dennis: Crawford’s a friend.
Bob: Well, I know he’s a friend.
Dennis: He and I both have the same birthday. I’m just a year more mature than he is.
Bob: We have had the opportunity to be with Crawford and his wife Karen this fall at our I Still Do®one-day marriage events. He was a part of the simulcast that we held back in October. Of course, Crawford is a featured part of The Art of Marriage® video series that we’ve put together—that a lot of people have been using as a part of their small group. It’s also designed to be used as a Friday night/Saturday event in your community or in your church.
In fact, if our listeners are interested in the special offer that’s going on right now, they can go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says, “GO DEEPER,” and find out more about The Art of Marriage event, and how they can host one, and how they can get the event kit free for a limited time.
One of the reasons that Crawford is a part of The Art of Marriage, Dennis, is because he has a perspective on the issue of legacy that I think is a unique perspective. He understands the value of his heritage and how powerful a legacy can be.
Dennis: Most couples today never think about their marriage and the legacy they’re leaving to future generations. Personally, I believe as never before, couples need to recalibrate and reevaluate: “What kind of legacy are we leaving to future generations?” It’s not just through your children—it’s through the lives you touch, the people you influence, the life you live. I think it’s a part of our assignment, here on planet earth, that God gives every man / every woman in the institution of marriage.
Bob: It’s a key part of what we talk about in The Art of Marriage event. Again, if our listeners are interested, they can find out more about the special offer that’s going on right now. Just go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the “GO DEEPER” link. The information is available right there.
Crawford Loritts is the pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. He’s a well-known author and speaker. We’re going to hear today some of his thoughts about the power of a legacy as we listen to Part One of a message that he presented at one of FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways a number of years ago. Here is Dr. Crawford Loritts.
Crawford: I have a deep-seated concern and burden for the abortion of personal responsibility in this culture and society. It seems to me that very few people in our society want to own the responsibility for the mess that we’re in.
We blame the succeeding generations without seeing any sense of connectedness, without seeing how what I did or did not do has contributed to the mess. We bash this generation, as I mentioned earlier, for its immorality and for its total disregard for standards. We stand up and we weep and we moan over the incredible violence that’s running rampant in our nation’s cities and schools. We stand up and we talk about reform in the culture, but no one talks about what we have done and have not done to contribute to this.
We live in a society that fails to see the relationship between rewarding women for having all these babies out of wedlock, and to not have a man around, and how the federal government has become the surrogate daddy for these kids. When you have obliterated the place of a male role model in the home, what do you expect? We have a culture and a society—and now please, I’m going someplace with this. I’m not just bashing our nation. There are wonderful things that are taking place.
We have a culture and a society that we live in today that has aborted any sense of moral absolutes. Our culture does not want to be told what is objectively right and wrong.
They want to be affirmed in whatever their behavior is.
“What’s the relevance of all of this, Crawford? Are you just on some little podium here, spouting out a bunch of irrelevant statements and venting your anger?” No, I’m not.
Into this context is the family: What are we to do? What kind of ambassadors and emissaries and gifts are we sending from our homes? What should the mindset be of Christians? How should we view what is going on?”
Now, I know I’ve just said a few negative things, but I really believe that Christians ought to have a mindset of hope. What disturbs me most is the fact that many of my Christian brothers and sisters are cowering in the corner someplace, retreating, or they’re wasting their energy, from my perspective, fighting a bunch of the wrong battles.
This is not the time to give up, and to retreat, and withdraw from society. This is the time to launch ahead and to move ahead and to be aggressive and intentional about our lives.
I love the story of Sir Winston Churchill. During World War II, he had this famous bunker on the Piccadilly Square. It was a grand mystery. No one knew what he had in that bunker. There was a lot of speculation, but no one knew. At the end of the war—obviously, after the war was over—Churchill was being interviewed by these reporters. Of course, one of the very first questions was, “Mr. Prime Minister, will you please tell us what in the world was in that bunker on the Piccadilly Square?”
To which Churchill responded with somewhat of a smile on his face: “Well, it’s really not quite as elaborate as you all have made it out to be. In fact, it was quite simple. In my quarters, all I had was a sleeping area—bed there—and I had a desk and some communications devices. On the wall there was a map—a map of the continent.”
Of course, the follow-up question: “What in the world were you doing during England’s darkest hour?—when we were threatened to be wiped off the face of the earth, when the bombs were dropping, here in London and in Birmingham—the industrial capital of England? What were you doing?” Listen to this. At this juncture, there was no smile on his face. He said, “I was pouring over the map of Germany and planning the invasion of Germany.”
In other words, “I wasn’t in some corner, cowering. I wasn’t hiding under some desk; but I was planning, should we get an opportunity, our next move.”
You see, ladies and gentlemen, we must view our lives, not only in this lifetime, but we must view our lives as initiating events, should our Lord tarry, that will go on hundreds and hundreds of years after us. Our vision is too short-sighted. We have to look beyond our contemporary context. We have to stop quoting power and start focusing on transformation of human lives and realize, that out of the incubator of our homes, by God’s grace, will rise up spiritual health and spiritual strength that will serve as guideposts—
—and not simply reflectors—to society for succeeding generations. We don’t have a big enough vision for what could be—for what could be.
Building a legacy requires increasing levels of commitment. I’ll just briefly touch on these things. This really is the outline of the presentation. It means, first of all, to commit to personal spiritual maturity. The greatest gift, ladies and gentlemen—Karen and I have determined the greatest gift that we could ever give our children—unless the Lord does some pretty miraculous things financially, we won’t give them a lot of this world’s goods. They won’t have a lot of stocks and bonds / they won’t have a lot of the stuff that this world has to offer. That’s not necessarily wrong. But the greatest gift that we can give our children is, not houses and lands, but the surrender of our own hearts and lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
The greatest thing that you can do for your kids—the greatest thing that you can ever do for them, is not saying, “Yes,” to their every little wish, whim and desire but to let them see your own broken and dependent life on a holy God. That’s the stuff that shapes generations.
Three observations: Number one—persist through the attacks from Satan, the flesh and the world. Circle the word, persist. Yes, you mess up some. Allow yourself to fail, but keep on keeping on. Secondly, persist—underscore that—through the discouragement caused by a lack of immediate results due to unrealistic expectations. Listen to me!
It takes time often, for when you see a solution, for that solution to be integrated into your life so that behavioral change takes place. You have to give yourself a little bit of time and patience with one another and not necessarily have these grand, unrealistic expectations. Knowledge is the first step. Now, the application process takes a little time. Persist.
Thirdly, don’t wait for your mate to act. Do what God expects of you—you respond. You do what God wants you to do. Let me put two other things down here—a fourth and a fifth one quickly. Fourthly, become proactive rather than reactive. Think in terms of what you can do rather than what you can’t do.
And then fifthly—I’ve already alluded to this—expect failure. Sure, you’re going to mess up. The Scripture says, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your Master.’” Just be faithful. The longer I live, the greater I see that this whole issue of faithfulness—that it’s so important—that it’s not gifted people, and it’s not all these fancy, wonderful insights, and it’s not these new twists on truth.
But really, in the long haul, it is the faithful, consistent, incremental deposit that we make that makes the difference.
Just be faithful—be faithful. You blow it / you mess up: “God, help me. I’m sorry. Honey, please forgive me. How can I overcome this?” Put it back together and keep on truckin’. Just be faithful.
Leaving a legacy of destiny requires developing a godly family. The family is God’s smallest battle formation. However, it’s not meant to be a holy huddle. Our goal is not to put our arms around our kids and have them all over here, and so detached and withdrawn from an unbelieving world that they grow up never knowing how to have a ministry, how to stand up for what is right, how to look people in the eye and say, “No, I don’t believe that,” how to share their faith.
Now, mind you, please—something just raced across my mind. I am not slamming homeschooling or any of that stuff.
I am not. I think, in certain situations—that’s the way to go. I’m not slamming any of those things—so don’t reduce it to those specifics. But what I am saying is—let’s be careful that the family does not become another idol. In God’s economy, my family and your family is only a vehicle for His glory to be demonstrated to an unbelieving world.
I love what Dennis and Barbara say. They view their children as—they view themselves as being one big multiple plug with six outlets—and these six kids are plugged into them. I wish you could hear Rainey say this. Only he could say it the way he does. He says, “Our goal is to take our hand, and put it over their hand, and unplug them from us, and plug them into God, and step back.”
Family is God’s smallest battle formation, but it’s not meant to be a holy huddle.
A ship is safe in harbor, but eventually it must set sail. It looks pretty there. It’s nice there. You can show it off there, but that ship was built to set sail, and set sail it must.
God’s plan is in opposition to the world’s plan. This is really a summary of the conference. It helps us to understand what’s going on. Again, as we said in the orientation, not everything we said applies to you this weekend. A lot of what we said doesn’t really find your address. That’s okay. But look at the manual. Look at the things that do apply—that are tailor-made for your situation—and take those things and prioritize them and work on them.
Let me just say—it’s everybody’s business what we do in our houses. Every time my children / our children leave that house, they’re broadcasting to everybody what we did at home. No, not verbally—in fact, we have rules about that—what we talk about at this table stays at this table—but their actions—
Now, I’m no behavioralist—and on the other side, I think I told my kids this: “If you go out there and sin, and screw up, and royally mess up, don’t you dare lay on some psychologist’s couch and go, ‘I didn’t know.’ No, you will be an informed sinner, and don’t even think about me quitting the ministry because you got messed up in sin. That ain’t me. That’s you. You did it because you did it.”
I think there’s this other trend in Christian circles where we blame everything on parents. Some of you have done the best you can. I’m thinking of a dear, dear sister in our church who has done the very best she can and has a son that is strung out on crack. She did the very best she can. I tell her, “Don’t blame yourself.” One of the things that bugs me to no end is a bunch of these non-thinking Christians who have been seduced by a bunch of behavioral scientists saying, “Well, it’s because you were a single parent, and you didn’t do this, and you didn’t do that.” No, he messed up!
But on the other hand, we have to make sure that we’re investing in the right stuff because they are making a statement, one way or another, about what they believe, where they’re going, and who they are. Our family affects future generations.
Bob: Well, we have been listening to the first part of a message from Dr. Crawford Loritts about the importance of being purposeful—being intentional about our marriage and our family—not just having a short-sighted view of “How do we get to next week?” but having a long-term view that says: “What is this all about? Why are we here? What’s our purpose?” and“How can we accomplish that most effectively for the glory of God?”
Dennis: Bob, most of us are better students of the legacy we were given than we are of the legacy that we’re in the process of leaving. I think it’s real easy to look back over what we were handed, and what we were given in our lifetimes, and to be maybe a little critical of what others have done—mistakes they’ve made and the impact they’ve had on our lives.
But we forget, at the same time, we’re living lives that are ultimately pointing in a direction and representing various values. I think the question is: “What kind of legacy are you going to leave? How would you describe it? How does God fit into your legacy? Is He going to have a part of it? Is He the one who gets the credit for your life, or is your life all about you?”
I think what Crawford reminded us of here is that a marriage that goes the distance—a family that is lived on purpose according to the Scriptures—can really leave a purposeful, godly legacy for future generations to feast off of.
Bob: Ultimately, it is how we are remembered. It’s the gift we give to future generations. It’s one of the themes that is addressed in The Art of Marriage video series that Crawford is a key part of. He is one of about a dozen experts that we interviewed for The Art of Marriage.
We have Dr. Al Mohler; we have Russell Moore; we have Voddie Baucham, who is a part of The Art of Marriage. Of course, you’re in there, along with Wayne Grudem and Michael Easley. I could go through the whole list. It’s a great lineup of Bible teachers, along with folks just sharing from their own lives—their own experience / their own stories about God’s work in their marriage.
We are starting to hear from folks who are looking ahead to next February—aware of the fact that Valentine’s Day is going to be on a Saturday. They’re thinking that maybe a Friday night/Saturday Valentine’s weekend marriage getaway would be something that they could host for other couples in their community or in their church. A lot of folks are starting to look ahead and thinking that would be a great weekend to host an Art of Marriage video event.
Right now, our team has a special offer they’ve put together. If you will agree to take 20 couples through one of these video events, we will send you the event kit for free. And if you’ll take 10 couples through it, we’ll send you the kit for half price.
You can get all the details when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner of the screen that says “GO DEEPER,” and look for The Art of Marriage. Click on that and find out how you can host one of these events. It’s easy to do—anybody can be the host. All you need is a screen, and some speakers, and a DVD player—and you’re in good shape. Again, get more information—go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper left-hand corner that says, “GO DEEPER.” Find out more about The Art of Marriage video event and how you can save some money right now.
Anybody who is a regular listener to FamilyLife Today has heard the word, legacy, a lot of times because it is something that we believe is powerful. We believe it’s a part of what God has called us to on planet earth—to leave a legacy of spiritual vitality to the next generation. We appreciate those of you who share that conviction with us—those of you who are Legacy Partners—monthly givers to FamilyLife Today.
We are grateful for your participation in this ministry.
And those of you who donate on occasion—maybe at the end of the year, or maybe around a special celebration—an anniversary or a birthday—or maybe it’s just you hear something, and God uses it, and you say, “I want to say, ‘Thank you,’ by making a donation.” We’re grateful however you choose to participate.
Right now, if you can help with a donation, we’d like to send you, as a thank-you gift, a spool that Barbara Rainey has put together that has a dozen napkin ties on it. Each napkin tie has a question designed to provoke some conversation around the dinner table that might go a little deeper than your normal conversations go. It’s called “Untie Your Story.”It’s our gift to you when you support the ministry, right now, with a donation.
You can make your donation, online, by going to FamilyLifeToday.com, clicking in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, where it says, “I Care”; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation over the phone.
You can also mail a donation to FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; and the zip code is 72223. And when you do make a donation, be sure to let us know that you’d like the napkin ties; and we’ll get those sent to you.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to hear Part Two of Crawford Loritts’ message on the power of a legacy. I hope you can be here for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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