Now, if you've been with us for any amount of time, you'll remember Steve Farrar from the many times that Dr. Dobson has also made it a point to share some of Steve's onstage presentations, as he addressed large crowds throughout his speaking career. Dr. Dobson has a fond recollection of Steve's heart for men in particular and his time on stage before tens of thousands of men at the groundbreaking Promise Keeper stadium events. Steve also wrote several important books, but most importantly, he modeled what he talked about in his love for his own family and his commitment to lead them with integrity.
Dr. Tim Clinton was also a friend of Steve Farrar and he considers him a pioneer and an unrivaled influence in shaping the hearts of men and helping them anchor their lives in their relationship with God. We'd like to honor Steve Farrar and his family with this classic presentation that he gave over 20 years ago. What you're about to hear truly defines Steve's mission to empower men to step into God's vision for their lives. Here now is Dr. Steve Farrar on today's edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Dr. Steve Farrar: I'm delighted to be here and the reason that I'm delighted to be here is that we have a stadium full of leaders. We have a leadership crisis in America. What's wrong with America can be reduced down to the issue of leadership. You're a leader. I'm a leader. We come from different places in life. We're at different stages of life, but you're a leader. If you're a husband, if you're a father, you're a leader. There is a difference between leadership and synthetic leadership.
When I was working on my dissertation in seminary, I had to come up with a definition of leadership and I found 165 different published definitions of leadership. What a leader is, and I found some great definitions of a leader. Let me give you the single best definition of a leader I came across out of the 165 definitions that I found. And you might want to write this down because it's profound. It comes from Dr. Howard Hendricks. Dr. Hendricks said, "A leader is someone who leads." That's it. Now, that may sound simple, but it's not simple.
A lot of times we get confused about leadership. We think if you have a title of leadership, we think if you have a position of leadership, that makes you a leader. A while back in Dallas, I had a guy hand me a business card. The single most impressive business card I've ever seen in my life. This guy had more titles of leadership on that card than any other business card I've ever seen. He was president, he was CEO. He was founder. He was chairman. Then at the bottom of the card it said, "Over." And you flipped it over and it continued on the back. Now I'm exaggerating. He had academic degrees. What I'm saying is, in spite of all of his positions and titles of leadership, that guy is only a leader if he leads. You've had the experiences I have had of working under someone who had a position of leadership, a title of leadership, but they didn't lead. That's a synthetic leader.
Saul had a position of leadership. He had a title of leadership. He was called king. He was the first king of Israel. If Saul were to walk in this room, every one of us would be attracted to him, because Saul looked like a leader. Saul was head shoulders above everybody else. He had chiseled good looks. I mean, if anyone ever looked like a leader, it was Saul. You'd look at that guy and say, "Now there's a leader." But the problem was, he just looked like a leader.
You see, he looked like a leader externally, but the problem is, leadership is an issue internally. Leadership is always an issue of the heart. And every time Saul came across a leadership test, he failed the test. In fact, it got so bad, at one point, God said, "That's it. I'm going to find another leader for this nation." So God went and found someone by the name of David who was in obscurity and God raised him up and said, "That's My next king." And it was said of David, that David was a man who was after God's own heart. You see leadership is always an issue of the heart.
Here's what happens when a synthetic leader runs into the real thing. Synthetic leaders are always threatened by genuine leadership. Synthetic leaders are always intimidated by real leaders. And here's the thing about a real leader. If you're a real leader, you don't need a title of leadership. If you're a real leader, you don't need a position of leadership. If you're a leader, you just simply lead out of the power of your life. That's the kind of guy that God's looking for. And that's the kind of men He wants us to become.
David was a leader whose hand, God had put upon. David, because of his caliber of leadership, threatened Saul. And you know the story Saul became threatened and decided he was going to kill David. So David was on the run. When you get to 1 Chronicles 12, David is hiding out from Saul in order to preserve his life. But what happened was men from all over Israel came and joined David because they recognized that he was the real thing. He was a genuine leader. He had a heart for God. And in 1 Chronicles 12, you have a listing of David and his mighty men. These men were incredible warriors. Some of them were skilled with the bow and arrow. Some of them were skilled with the sling. Now, David wasn't bad with the sling, was he?
But in 1 Chronicles 12:1, it talks about the sons of Benjamin. Incredible warriors. Guys that were skilled with the sling. They were gifted with the right. They were gifted with the left. If they ever got wounded in battle in the right arm, they just picked up the sling with the left. You get a listing of all these great warriors that came to David and joined him because they believed in his leadership. As you read down 1 Chronicles 12, you come to verse 32 and there's a profound statement made about a group of guys in Israel. And here's what it says in 1 Chronicles, 12:32, it says, "And the men of Issachar were men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do."
I want to submit to you that every guy in this room needs to become a man Issachar. We need to understand our times so that we will know what our families should do. We need to understand our times so that we will know what our churches should do. We need to understand our time so that we will know what our communities would do. You see the thing that set the men from Issachar apart, the men of Issachar had something called discernment. The men of Issachar had something called vision. Someone once asked Helen Keller, "If there was anything worse than being blind?" And she said, "Yes, having sight, but no vision." The men of Issachar had vision. I want to invite you to join me in becoming a man of Issachar. As they understood their times, we need to understand our times. It's not the 1950s anymore. It's not the 1960s. And as leaders, we need to understand what's going on around us so that we can meet the issues and give leadership to the issues.
I want to propose to you that there are three things that are true about our times. And see if this doesn't resonate with you, as we wind up this weekend. See if this doesn't speak to your heart about the kind of leadership that we need to provide because of what's going on in our society. The men of Issachar understood their times. As I understand my times, the first thing that becomes apparent to me is that in our times the foundations are being destroyed. Psalm 11:3 says this, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
When we lived in California, a developer put up three high rise condominium buildings around a lake. It was a beautiful development. The first tower went up and within days of completion, it had sold out. The second tower went up. It was identical to the first and by the time that was completed, all the condominiums were sold out. Then the third tower went up and it remained empty for nearly three years. It's identical to the others, what's the problem? The problem was this, on the day that they poured the foundation back at the cement plant, somehow the ratios got off just a little bit. They didn't discover it until after the building was nearly completed, but the building, they discovered had a weakened foundation.
It took them three years and it took them really millions of dollars to repair that foundation and to shore up the foundation. As you know, the foundation is the most critical part of any building. The foundation is the most critical part of any nation. The foundation is the most critical part of any church. The foundation is the most critical part of your family and of your home. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
About six months ago, I was flying up to New York. I was reading a book about the pilgrims. Pilgrims were fascinating people. They were committed to Jesus Christ. They believed in the Word of God. Because of their faith in Christ, they were persecuted. And before they ever came to America, they went to Holland. They were in exile in Holland for 12 years. And then the opportunity came for them to go to this new land. They didn't know what awaited them. Over 300 of them got into this little ship. They went below deck and they stayed there for 11 weeks. There were 300 of them crammed into an area, the size of a volleyball court.
When they arrived on the shores of this country, they didn't have much. They literally just had the clothes on their back. They didn't have seed. They didn't have tools. They didn't have resumes. They didn't have SEP IRAs. They didn't have Keoghs. They didn't have pension plans. They had nothing. All they had were the clothes on their back and this book. That was it. But that was all they needed. For you see, they took the principles of this book and they began to pour a foundation for a great nation.
America has been blessed by God because of the foundation that America was built on. The most influential book in the minds of the pilgrims... Guys, the most influential book, the most influential book in the minds of the pilgrims was not the Quran. The most influential book in the minds of the pilgrims was not the writings of Buddha or Lao Tzu. The most influential book was the Word of God. They believed in the Word of God and they began to take principles and they began to lay a foundation. And then others began to come. And what's happened is we look at America. Have you ever asked yourself, why has America been so blessed? Why is it that people from all over the world have made extraordinary sacrifices to bring their families to this nation? Why is it they have left land? Why is it they have left situations, left other family to come to America? Why have they done that? I would submit to you, they've done that because of the foundation upon which America was built. America was built on biblical principles.
Now we've never been perfect. We've made our share of mistakes. Any nation that would enslave a group of people for as long as we did, we had a problem. But it was Bible believing Christians who stood up against slavery. That's the fact of the matter. We've not been perfect, but we had a different foundation. I got a question for you. How come nobody in your neighborhood is packing up their family and moving to Iraq? How come? How come nobody on your neighborhood is picking up their family and moving to Cuba? How come when our baseball team plays Cuba's baseball team, how come our guys don't defect? You want to know why? Because we've got a different foundation than Cuba or Iraq. Our foundation was built on the principles of the Word of God.
Roger Marsh: You're listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh, breaking in to let you know that we've reached the midpoint of today's program entitled "Being Men of God in a Lost Culture." Family Talk is a completely listener supported broadcast ministry. Go to drjamesdobson.org to find out more and to learn more about today's guest. And now let's return to this classic presentation delivered by the late Dr. Steve Farrar, here on Family Talk.
Dr. Steve Farrar: When you look at the history of America for over 200 years, the majority of Americans, and I want you guys to track with me here, this is critical. Why did God bless this country? For several hundred years, the majority of Americans, whether they were Christians or not, believed in the principles of this book. They believed in something called moral absolutes. They believed that God had given the law to Moses. Moses had brought that law down. That law became the basis for morality. 99.9% of Americans, for hundreds of years believed in the 10 commandments. We believed certain things were right. We believed certain things were wrong, because the Bible said so.
But in the 1960s, that began to change. I was in college in the 1960s. And in the 1960s, a new philosophy began to be taught. It was called moral relativism. Moral relativism believes, it says there's no absolute creator, therefore there's no absolute truth. Therefore you can do anything that you want. Have you ever had someone say to you, "Well, that may be right for you. But that doesn't mean it's right for me." Sure you have. That's moral relativism. That's the spirit of this age. It came from the '60s.
Recently I was in Los Angeles. I was going to speak at my daughter's college. She goes to a Christian school out there. I got in late Sunday night. Called her when I got to the hotel room, she said, "Dad, I'll pick you up at 8:45." I said, "Okay, that sounds good. Chapel starts at 9:30." So I went to set the alarm in the hotel, but it was flashing 12 and I didn't want to mess with it, so I just put in a wake up call. Woke up the next morning and I looked at my watch and I couldn't believe it. It was 8:30 and I was supposed to be downstairs in 15 minutes. And I hadn't gotten a wake up call. And I'll tell you what. I was a little upset, because I really had to scramble to get in the shower, to shave and get down there in 15 minutes. I got down there. If I had a thought about it, I would've realized Rachel wouldn't have been there on time anyway, but that's okay.
So I figured she'll be showing up about 8:55. Well, I'm standing there at 8:55 and she's not there. And I'm thinking, "Come on, Rach, we got to get there." It's now 9:00, she's not there. I'm starting to get a little bothered. It's now 9:05. She's not there. I'm really getting upset. It's 9:10, she's not there. I'm starting to get steamed. If I had asked the guy next to me, "Sir, excuse me. What time do you have?" You know what he would've said? He would've looked at his watch and said, "It's 7:10." I would've said, "No, no, it's 9:10." He would say, "No, it's 7:10." And I would say, "Well, it may be 7:10 to you, but that doesn't mean it's 7:10 to me." See the problem was, I live in Dallas, Texas, but I wasn't standing in Dallas, Texas. I was standing in Los Angeles. You see, just as God has fixed time absolutely, so God has fixed morality absolutely. And you cannot change His morality. You can't do it.
We had a bunch of university students in the '60s that were taught that moral relativism was right. You can do anything you want to do. And those students bought that hook, line and sinker. Now, here we are 30 years later. Where are those students that bought moral relativism hook, line and sinker? Where are they? And you may be saying, "Steve, you're getting political here." I'm not getting political. I'm getting biblical is what I'm getting. I'm not talking Democrat. I'm not talking Republican. I'm talking the Word of God here. But as I understand our times, truth is no longer essential. Now for several hundred years, truth has been essential in this nation, but not any longer.
My son, John and I went to traffic court a few months ago. We go there often. John's a great guy. He's a good kid. He just drives fast. We walk in and they go, "John, how you doing? Come on in, have a chair." We waited our turn and as we stood up before the judge, the judge looked at his information and says, "Well, John, I notice here that you have three tickets." And John said, "No, Your Honor, I have four." And the judge kind of does a double take and looks at John and says, "John, you shouldn't have told me that." And I said, "No, Your Honor, he should have told you that." I said, "I'm trying not to raise a Bill Clinton here."
Now I want to tell you guys something. I want to tell you something. I want to be real straight with you. I may never be invited to speak again, but you know what? That doesn't bother me. Because I want to say this to you, I'm trying to do better than that. I'm trying to raise a young man to become a leader who won't lie to his wife, who won't lie to his daughter and who won't lie to a nation. That's what I'm trying to do.
Now here's the deal guys. You got to stay with me here. You got to stay with me and I want you to hear me. I am not being political. I don't care if a guy's a Democrat. I don't care if he's a Republican. I'm sick and tired of Republicans that talk about family values, that sleep around on their wives. If you're going to talk family values, then you live out family values. Here's the other thing. Hold on. The judge looked at John and we went through all the stuff and the bailiff brought in the information on the other ticket. After a few minutes, the judge said to John, he said, "John, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to dismiss the fourth ticket. The third ticket, you can go to defensive driving. For the other two we'll send you to Singapore and they will cane you." He didn't say that. That was my recommendation. They didn't go for it.
As we were walking out to the parking lot, I said, "John, wasn't that something?" He said, "It really was dad." I said, "Why do you think John, why do you think that judge let you off on the fourth ticket?" He said, "Dad, I think it's because I told the truth." I said, "I think you're right John." I said, "You know what you did? You told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And you weren't even under oath. Do you know how rare it is for that judge to hear somebody in that courtroom, just tell the truth? Do you know how many lies that judge hears in a given day? Do you know how many times he hears someone blame somebody else or it was this fault or... Take no response? Do you know how refreshing it had to be for him to hear somebody tell the truth? You didn't put your hand over the microphone and consult with your attorney. You didn't ask the judge to define the word "is." You just told the truth."
I want to tell you something guys, let me tell you why truth... And see what we've decided in this country now officially is that we've officially decided, the Senate decided, that truth is no longer essential. I'm telling you, God says truth is essential. You can't have a good nation without truth. You can't have a good family without truth. You can't have a good church without truth. Truth is the basis of everything. Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Truth is essential, Jesus said.
Here's the third thing. As I look at our nation, the men of Issachar understood their times, we need to understand our times. Here's my third observation. As we look at our times, we should understand that we are overdue for the judgment of God. America is overdue. And I'm sorry to say that to you guys, but historically, theologically, biblically, we have crossed a line in this country. When Assyria crossed the line, when Egypt crossed the line, when Rome crossed the line, when Greece crossed the line, when Germany crossed the line, when Israel crossed the line, God judged them. And you wonder what the line is? Read Romans 1:18, all the way through the end of the chapter. You see there is a line that we cross and in America, what we do now is that we have taken what is good and we call that bad. We take what is bad and we call that good. We are totally confused morally in this country.
Roger Marsh: A passionate plea for men of God to take a stand in today's lost culture. You've been listening to Family Talk and that was the first half of a presentation delivered by the late Steve Farrar. The presentation was recorded over 20 years ago. It's important to note that Dr. Steve Farrar was dedicated to helping men understand their purpose and how to be great leaders for their families, their communities, and the nation. His vision for building up Godly men was sparked while completing his doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve based his dissertation on his own research of 1000 Christian men. He learned that men who wanted to be Godly leaders in their homes were discouraged and woefully unprepared. It was a stark revelation that acted as the impetus for his book Point Man, a resource that went on to sell over half a million copies. The rest, as they say is history.
We wanted to take a couple of days to honor Steve Farrar's ministry and to let you know that his work is being continued by his wife, Mary Farrar, along with a special group of Christian men through Steve Farrar's Men's Leadership Ministries. In fact, before he passed away, Steve wrote a revised and updated edition of his first book Point Man: How a Man can Lead His Family. The book was published posthumously in May of this year. To learn more about Steve's legacy, Steve Farrar Men's Leadership Ministries and how you can get a copy of the updated edition of Point Man, visit us online at drjamesdobson.org/familytalk.
The team at Steve Farrar Ministries is promoting Point Man as a book for the millennial husband and dad who has never heard the name, Steve Farrar. And Dr. Tony Evans said that the book is, "Jam packed with biblical direction and leadership strategies." Just visit drjamesdobson.org/familytalk and you'll find a link to the book and Steve for our ministries right there.
Well that's all the time we have for today's edition to Family Talk, be sure to join us again tomorrow, and you'll hear the conclusion of Steve Farrar's passionate and important presentation about How to be Men of God in a Lost Culture. Until then remember that we serve the God who never forgets about us and knows the number of hairs on our head. I'm Roger Marsh. Join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.