#270 Love – Family Style (28/01/07)

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

The founder of e-harmony.com is a man by the name of Dr. Neil Clark Warren. He is a clinical psychologist, he’s a best selling author, and he has become America’s best-known expert on mate selection and marriages. In 2000, Dr. Warren launched e-harmony, the first relationship service on the web and today is the number one trusted relationship service in the world, with more than eleven million registered users in over 200 countries. He personally told me that they have 90 marriages a day. A day! Because of bringing people together.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" This is My Father’s World "
" Hand in Hand Now Walk with Jesus "

" How Firm a Foundation "

JOEL ENGLE – “Be a Father to Her”
CANADIAN BRASS – “Amazing Grace”
CANADIAN BRASS – “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”

The Message

Well this is one of the most exciting mornings of my life because I have an opportunity to share with you my thoughts as I near my 80th birthday and the thoughts are Love - Family Style. It’s an amazing thing what revisionisms have been introduced to our culture in the United States in my lifetime. It is an amazing thing how people who claim great academic expertise are able to rewrite the history of a man like George Washington, pick out the worst and highlight that. How they’re able to pick out principles that they interpret are operating in people like Abraham Lincoln. And they write revisionism and they take the heroic element out of his lifestyle. We are living in a half century of enormous revisionism, where people can attack a person like Jesus Christ and without knowledge, without accurateness and without truthfulness, rewrite His history, become lets say a married man with kids. This is an astonishing thing this thing called revisionism. I am a psych major but also a history major and that’s why I feel strongly about how tragic this can be and how professional experts can get by with it, appearing on the leading talk shows, writing a new book which will attract attention because of this shock power, leaving impressions that are most untrue about historical characters. I am anti-revisionism, as it becomes a movement more then a real honest intelligent pursuit. And we see it in culture, we see moral revisionism, where suddenly something that has always been classified as wrong in the Judaic Christian religion, and we’re talking about thousands of years here, not only Christianity.

We are seeing revisionism in the definition of the word family, and that’s what concerns me this morning. You know what is a family? Well its being rewritten, the definition of a community of people who have an affection for each other can be called quote a family. And then we come in with words, adjectives like nuclear family, which mean different things to different persons. I’m calling for a recognition of the classic, not the fashionable standard of what a family really is, because it’s impacted by a revisionism of the word love. The word love always meant something very profound, very deep, very significant that produced character, and behavioral factors in life that produce, nobility and courage and honor.

Love is being rewritten. For some I don’t need to tell you this, you know, you can carry that point on in discussing it with your friend as you leave the church this morning. The word love is being redefined in a downward style to match the wishes of the people who don’t want to yield to higher morality.

So I’m talking about love, family style. The family has been undergoing enormous challenges. Remember the concept, classic concept of the family is a male and a female that get married and have children and raise them in the faith. The classic concept of the family is that like it or not; I didn’t make it up, its history, starting with the Jewish faith, they introduced it. It was strong, it was powerful. Like it or not, it embraced Christianity because Christianity is a Jewish faith with Christ as Savior added to the New Testament.

Love, family style; its different. You know the challenges to the family started early in the last century and interestingly enough it started in Marxism. Carl Marx wanted to impose communism in the world. He saw capitalism as the enemy. He saw two major cultural institutions that had to be destroyed. One was the family, and the other was corporate structures. And the two went together. How could you, weaken the family corporations. Corporations; Carl Marx day, were controlled by families. You know the names of the families; they’re power names in this country. The whole concept of nepotism, believe it or not, was coined by Carl Marx, saying ‘can’t have families controlling corporations.’ And every corporation had enough problems with families that even the non-Marx-is were to fall for nepotism too swiftly, without actually judging what could be the result. And many a corporation, if you study the history, suffered failure when they weren’t allowed to have their children in corporate positions. Never hit the church. In the history of the church there has never been a principle or a rule that you can’t have children of a church succeed the pastor, interesting.
And there are forces in our secular society today, even in churches that are really anti-family. I’m not going there, but check it out. There are anti-forces that would down play a husband and a wife, who marry, make love, have children, raise those kids, and love them till death. Love family style. Something else. In my lifetime, Elton Trueblood, the great late professor of philosophy at Earlham College, created a concept called small groups. I knew him; I was when that thing was happening. And small groups were introduced to create a family style small community. Good small groups have Love – Family Style, What is that? That’s openness, its honesty; it’s establishing your own principles and not going by culture. It means you’re not just another family, you are a special family. We raised our kids that way, and I’m proud of where they all are today, and all of my 18 grandchildren, that know the Ten Commandments, go to church and Sunday school every week. I’m proud of all of them; it’s a faith, family. But we taught them, our family is not going to be like the families maybe across the street or next-door, or the families of some of your friends; we’re different.

Boy did I learn that; we succeeded. One day years ago, Bobby was, I called him Bobby then, Robert was I think maybe five years old, maybe four. We had the most distinguished religious clergy man in our whole denomination, a Dr. Howard Hageman, come to see what this Schuller was doing here in California, we were being talked about. So the president came out to check us out, and he was an esteemed professor at the seminary and a very powerful man. So we were going to drive him to see the little church that we were trying to get started, and I ran out of gas so I said well its not far to a gas station, I know that. I’ll walk and get a gallon. So I went and down, left the car, left Howard Hageman in there with Bobby sitting in the car, when Howard pulled out a pack of cigarettes, which was perfectly legal in the Dutch Reformed Church. He lit the cigarette. Now I’d been telling Bobby cigarettes are terrible. They’re awful. He said why? I said well they’ll bring you a disease. He said what kind of a disease. I said you wouldn’t understand but let me tell you it’s the worst disease in the world. Really?

Now, I tried to program him against tobacco. Now I’m out of the car, Howard Hageman lights up a cigarette, blows out the smoke and little Bobby looks at him and says, and I know this because my wife was in the back seat. He said, “you shouldn’t do that.” Oh? Oh? Dr. Hageman said. Why not? Bobby said, “Well, it’s dangerous.” Oh really? What’s the danger? And Bobby said you’ll get a disease.” Oh really? What disease? And Bobby said, “Worst disease in the world.” And what is that? Dr. Hageman says. And Bobby said, “Diarrhea.”
Well, every family sets their own principles, their own little moralities, and that’s something every family has to come back to today. Think about the effects of life. Think about the values that you have. Be slow to just welcome them because they’re now culturally acceptable or they’re culturally in. Family, love family style? It’s built on a solid foundation. Ethics. Morality. And faith. That’s it. Ethics, morality and faith. And it’s based strongly on history. If something ever became historical you can be sure there were some reasons why people had to deny themselves pleasures. Yeah. Something right with them. And they’re dangerous. But you haven’t probably calculated. And you don’t want to comment on it because it’s not socially in. Love – family style; its love with character.

Well, you know, I want you to take away a few things and I want you this morning to just see how you can live that family style love. First of all understand you have to be alert. I’m going to give you some words to carry with you. Be aware that a family is one institution that never keeps score. Sheila is our eldest child. You know what? I expect that I spent more on her than on any other of the five kids. She’s been around longer. She’s the oldest. We had a child that suffered a terrible accident and lost a leg and medical care was something else. But none of the other kids said, “Oh you’re spending a lot of money on Carol.” Nobody said that, nobody thought that. You don’t even think of that. In a family, you don’t keep score. In a family, forgiveness is not something you can permanently set aside but when Christ is Lord, you come back to how can we deal with this hurt that we’ve experienced, maybe one against another.

I was raised in a family, they were God fearing people, mom and dad and they were married until death parted them because that’s the traditional family, till death us do part. It’s not the cultural thing today but that’s where I was raised. And I saw them raise their voices, I heard them shouting at each other but they never split. And I learned something from that, when you get into a conflict, you don’t split, you hang in there, you work at it, you never give in to negative forces. They will come to any institution, to any relationship, but you don’t give in to them. You don’t keep score. You don’t pass judgment. The focus is on encouraging. You encourage each other and you look for how they need help, when they need help, so you’re alert, and you help them. It’s not easy and there were times in my life, in my ministry here, where I would come home and my brain was just saturated by insecurities, how would we be able to pay the steel bill for this thing, wow. I’d come home, there in the kitchen would be the kids, and my wife making super, “hi daddy”, “hi.”

Second word, be appreciative. Look for something that you can actually complement them on, thank them for. Make thank you the in word in your family. That’s what life family love is like, and be affirmative. That means complement them, build up their self-esteem, don’t ever put them down. I love that story, it happened in this Paris opera house many years ago but the great conductor, the house was packed, and before the concert started, the announcer came on stage and said we’re very sorry to have to tell you that tonight the esteemed conductor is ill and is unable to be with us. But we found a wonderful young conductor who will be handling the concert tonight, thank you very much. The stranger came on, played the orchestra. The first number there wasn’t a single hand that applauded. There was silence. It was embarrassing until in a third balcony, a little boy stood up and shouted, “I think you’re doing great daddy,” and the house broke down into applause, inspired by that little guy. That’s love, family style, wow. Be alert, listen to them, hear what they’re saying. Be appreciative, say thank you. Be affirmative, focus on encouragement.

And finally be the best that you can be under the circumstances. And with that, I’m thinking of oh fathers who are the second fathers those kids have known in the home. In some cases the third father they’ve known in their home. And I’m thinking of stepfathers. A lot of fathers today are stepfathers, and that can create, as many of you know, some serious problems. But I have a relative; I think she would probably be a grand niece. All I know is her first name is Shauna. All I know is that her mother had a very painful divorce early in marriage, and then she married again. He was the kind of character that was consumed by love, family style. He was alert, he was affirmative, he was appreciative, and he was always there. And she fell in love with him, like she, he was her daddy, and he fell in love with her like she was her daughter. And not long ago, he got called up as a reserve, and he’s in Iraq and then his daughter would write him, I wish you could be here for my graduation. And of course he told her he could not do that. But he tried his hardest and only I think three or four days before her graduation, her momma, that’s my relative, got a secret call from him. He said I didn’t give up and my commander has said I can take off to the graduation of Shauna, but don’t tell her, I want to surprise her. Maybe I can even make it for the graduation exercise, but if not I’m going to hope to make it at the party at the house.

And at graduation, when the graduating was happening, his plane was landing in Minneapolis. And to get to the other town in Minnesota he’d have to rent a car, which he did. And it took a few hours and he knew he missed the graduation, but he knew what time the party was at the house. Down the block came the rented car, couldn’t find a parking space. Finally way down there he found a place. He was still in his army uniform from Iraq. He hadn’t had time to change or anything, and he came running down the sidewalk as fast as he could, and her grandpa, standing there welcoming people, said to her, “Shauna look, here comes your daddy,” and she saw him and burst out running to meet him. They fell into each other arms.
Love - family style. I salute you; pass it on, with a hundreds of thousands of years to come in Christ’ name, Amen.

HOP Privacy Legal  
Designed by: Ultragraphics Ltd.