Igniting Men for the Cross (Transcript)

Dr. Dobson: Well, thank you everyone for tuning into our program today. You may know that Family Talk is a listener supported program and we remain on the air by your generosity, literally. If you can help us financially, we would certainly appreciate it. God's blessings to you all.

Roger Marsh: Hello everyone, and welcome to this Friday edition of Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh and I hope that you've had a blessed week. As we wrap up this month of April here on Family Talk, I'd like to remind you that Family Talk and the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute are listener supported ministries. Here at the JDFI, we focus our ministry on four specific core values. They are marriage, parenthood, the sanctity of human life and encouraging righteousness in the culture. Now today's broadcast features one of Dr. Dobson's great friends and a strong man of faith. His name is Joe White. Joe is the president and chairman of Kanakuk Kamps, a family of ministries headquartered in Branson, Missouri.

Joe has written 20 books, including Faith Training: Raising Kids Who Love the Lord and Irresistible Love: A Journey to the Heart of Jesus. When it comes to Joe White, Dr. Dobson has actually said and I'm quoting him here "Joe knows more about teenagers than anyone in North America." He's a sought-after speaker who has appeared at Promise Keepers events, men's conferences, and has spoken to major league baseball and NFL teams, as well. Joe has been married to his wife, Debbie Jo, for 45 years and they have four children and 15 grandchildren together. Now today's interview was recorded backstage at a Christian men's conference called "Ignite Men's Impact Weekend" shortly after Joe had spoken to thousands of men in attendance. Ignite, by the way, is the annual event hosted by our own Dr. Tim Clinton. When Joe spoke, he carried a massive cross on stage and at one point during his presentation, he invited all the men in attendance, in their vulnerability and brokenness, to write their sins and struggles onto index cards and bring them to the altar to be nailed to the cross. Now before we get into this interview, I do want to let you know that today's program is for mature audiences. If you have children listening in, you may want to occupy them with something else or come back to this presentation at a later time. You can always find it at dr.jamesdobson.org. Let's listen in now to Dr. Tim Clinton and Joe White's inspiring conversation, here on Family Talk.

Tim Clinton: Joe, it's so awesome to be here together again at a men's conference. We've done a few of these together, but Joe something's happened this weekend. I don't think I've ever seen what you and I both got to witness out there. Probably four, maybe 4 or 5,000 men coming forward, broken.

Joe White: Yeah Tim, if you can capture on this radio broadcast the feeling of the blessing I had being in that crowd of men, hugging guys, drying their tears, if you will. Hearing their stories, looking them in the eyes and saying, you know what, to a fatherless man, "I'm not your dad but if I was, I'd really be proud to be your dad." I was able to just go from man to man to man in that crowd of several thousand men who were coming to that cross, receiving Jesus' dad, trusting Christ as the father they never had, taking their porn and their alcohol and their guilt or shame, in their abuse that they had when they were little pups to the cross and in trust, nailing it up there to the cross, if you could picture [Crosstalk 00:03:33].

Tim Clinton: I wish you could see it.

Joe White: Just this ocean. It was wonderful and the micro picture of one man was even better than the big picture of all the men. I'll tell you the stories in a minute, yeah.

Tim Clinton: Joe, in modern day society I think men are often characterized as being buffoons, distant disengaged dads, pathetic husbands, porn addicts, not caring about much, but I'm telling you what. When we got in this room...

Joe White: Yeah.

Tim Clinton: ...that wasn't what I saw. I was seeing something very different. These were men who were, they were soul searching at a different level as, you're right, as they were pouring forward and hugging on them, I did look in the eyes of a lot of loneliness though, Joe. There was brokenness, but there was hunger. There was joy pouring out at the same time, tears everywhere. I'm talking about men, a man's man coming forward and just hugging on you.

Joe White: Yeah. This conference is special, Tim. I traveled the Promise Keepers circle for years and I've done men's event all over the country and some around the world, but this conference and all the camo hats and all the camo jackets and all the regular guys. And as you said, 95% of them really striving to be good men, striving to be faithful husbands. God's out there struggling in the marketplace and the workplace. Some of them in their teenage years, but wanting to follow Jesus really well. It just feels so authentic on the floor of these events, as these men come forward.

Tim Clinton: Joe, you've spent a lifetime ministering to youth through your camps. You've poured into athletes. You've done so many men's events. I wanted to step back for a moment and just look inside at you for a second. Joe, what's keeping you awake at night now? I know you're up in those years where you're looking around saying, "God, how do we do this piece that I'm in right, now really well." And what's stirring inside of you?

Joe White: Interesting you would say "What's keeping me up at night?" Because my wife would say "Go to bed. Lay down. Settle down." But, a lot of it is, still run the sports camps and down at Kanakuk, I'm in the middle of so many leaders' lives and kids' lives and counselors' lives. A lot of what keeps me up is knowing that, for three months of the summer, I want to be on point for 16, 18 hours a day, so I'm planning the camps and all the talks and relationships. But, a lot of it is just an unquenchable hunger to see men at whatever age and women at whatever age really trust Jesus' dad.

Tim, I've just been so fascinated from the days in Promise Keepers from all the high school ministries. I'm doing women's mom's lunches a lot nowadays and everyone is craving Abba, God's term for himself in Romans 8. He wants to be daddy. I want everybody to know that. I know that Jesus died for the whole world. I know that Gods patient, slow to anger, not wanting any to perish, but for all to come to repentance, he says in 2 Peter 3:9. But, I just want everybody so bad to know that. To know him as dad.

Tim Clinton: What do you think is happening right now in modern day Christianity?

Joe White: Oh boy.

Tim Clinton: Where are we?

Joe White: Oh boy.

Tim Clinton: We talk about a divided country, people spinning, the church seems to be confused at times. Where's the power? Where's the strength? But do you see something surging, Joe? Do you see...

Joe White: Oh boy. Yeah, Tim, I see Jesus out there with drunkards and prostitutes and the lawyers that were around him all the time are going, why are you over there? Why are you over with those people in the bars? And I remember him turning and looking at him with those brown blazing Hebrew eyes and saying, a sick man needs a doctor." America and the world feel sick. We feel it that we're sick. We feel it that we're pornographic. We feel it that our hearts are empty. The further America and the world get away from God, the more America and the world craves God.

Tim Clinton: Isn't that amazing? It's like this massive search. It's like we're reaching for everything. There's a verse in Ecclesiastes, I think it's 6:7. It says "All the labors of a man's hands, everything he's reaching for is for his mouth, but his soul goes unsatisfied." Joe, there is a reaching, but it never satisfies. But Joe, they're coming up so empty, and maybe it's the pace. Maybe it's the pain. Maybe it's the pressure, the stress we're under. But, I agree with you. I think there's a searching like never before. It's surging Joe and who's going to step up?

You're so well known for being the cross builder. We just witnessed Joe do the cross message. Joe, I am so amazed at the power of the cross. Talk to us about how that got birthed inside of you, when again, I wish our listeners, talking with Joe White again today, a man that God has raised up. To me, he's a holy man. And Joe, when you were out there, I'm just telling you, God was all over those moments. I was seated off to your right. I'm in the bleachers alone. My eyes were just weeping. I just couldn't believe what God was doing in this moment.

This massive, I wish the women listening right now could just, again see the men in their life and what was going on. They often think, God they don't really care. These guys did not hesitate. They flooded. It's seven plus thousand guys in an arena. You've got 4-5,000 of them coming forward. And I'm talking fathers and sons, brothers hugging each other. I mean groups of men weeping, guys on their knees before God. But it comes back to, there was something up on that stage that they came to, Joe.

Joe White: Jesus said it. Why should we be surprised? He said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me." Yeah, we do this cross in America. We do this cross in other areas of the world and we do it in the Muslim culture and other cultures and men and women and children are always drawn to the cross in mass. Because, if Christ is lifted up, all we did a few minutes ago in this arena was just lift up Jesus. As Paul said, who knows? Maybe toward the end of his ministry, after all the fussing and arguing and the stoning and the floggings, he just said, Hey, I know nothing among you, but Jesus Christ crucified. That's it. The cross went up and the men came to Jesus.

Tim Clinton: The message of salvation. The desperate cry of the soul. I know in Ecclesiastes that says, he said eternity in their hearts, Joe. When you begin to peel it back and I saw it happening, it exposes everything in your life.

Joe White: What was really fun is, I was out there listening to these men's stories, one man came up to me, addicted to pornographic sex, homosexual sex, involved in transgender stuff. This beautiful, wonderful, precious brown eyed man. I looked to his eyes and I just said, "Eric, what do you want?" And he said, "I want to be a man." And as we prayed together for 10 or 15 minutes there on the floor, I saw Eric become like a little cocoon, a little caterpillar. I watched all those old sideways, hurting, abuse and all the things that had driven him to the place he is today, I saw the little caterpillar dying. I remember looking in Eric's eyes. I changed his name by the way. I looked in Eric's eyes and I just said, "Eric, there's a dream inside that caterpillar dust in there." He goes, "yeah". I said, "there's a dream he's going to fly."

I watched Eric sprout wings and watched a butterfly emerge. An hour later he came to a little breakout that I did and Tim, I saw a different man. I'm not kidding you. I saw him, but instead of eyes of just incredible despair and hopelessness, I saw eyes that were full of hope. I could see in his eyes. He was a different man. I believe the rest of his life, he's going to live in sexual purity the rest of his life. He's committed to it and Jesus has given him the ability to go do that.

Tim Clinton: The words of scripture we preach Christ and him crucified.

Joe White: Bottom line.

Tim Clinton: Joe, up on the cross today, you had a team of guys there with you, hammers nails, they were doing something. They were picking up cards that, thousands of cards were being placed on the stage. Tell us about that. Why it was so significant?

Joe White: I was in Lubbock doing a college event and a couple thousand kids came down to the cross and they brought all their sin and all their addiction and all their abuse and hurt and pain and sore up to the cross. To answer your question, Tim, in a microcosm, one little girl came up to me, crying so hard I had to put my hands on her shoulders to hold her up.

I said, "what's your name?" She said Maggie. And I said, "Maggie, I already love you. My granddaughter's named Maggie. Maggie, why are you crying?" And she said, "Because when I was 17, the boys filmed me. They set me up. They stripped me. They raped me. They filmed me. They made me porn." I pull a little love letter out of my back pocket, like I did today with men and I said, "Maggie, look. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 it says that God made Jesus who knew no sin. He became rape. He became porn. He became cutting, Maggie so that you could become the righteousness of Christ in him."

Tim, like those men today with all those cards they were bringing you up there, Maggie entrusted her card, which was her love letter to Jesus. Those men, Tim, were emptying their backpacks of all their hurt, guilt, shame, failures, et cetera, in nailing the cross and Maggie, who could have been here today, Maggie, it was like this white veil of purity falls from the ceiling of that arena on her face. No one saw it, but Maggie did. And Maggie, in front of that cross, like many men today, became the righteous bride of Christ.

Tim, what we saw was a transformation. The Holy Spirit obviously is the one who did it. He's the only one that can do it. But we saw men being transformed. 1 John 1:9 promises, no matter what my addiction or sin or shame, he promises if I confess that sin he'll forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Don't miss it folks. At that time on the cross, those guys were doing that and they were receiving Jesus' grace. It happened. The stories, you see the authenticity of what happened by talking to the men.

Tim Clinton: Joe, no doubt. some listening right now. Maybe it's a painful past. They're filled with rage and anger. Maybe they filled that hole in their soul with things they're ashamed of. The shame is so strong in their life. It just seems like it's overwhelming and they think it doesn't matter anymore. God couldn't love me. There's just no way. Maybe there's some real anger with God because of some loss, kids gone bad, whatever. They know. They know. They've heard it. But Joe, what do you say now? What do you think about the voice of God and him speaking?

Joe White: Well, Tim.

Tim Clinton: And us responding to it? Because it moves me. There's some times in my life where I just felt like maybe I spurned the move or the voice of the Holy Spirit in my own life. You know that?

Joe White: Yeah, Tim. Your question was answered today by a dear man, probably 6'3, probably 265 pounds out there in front of the cross today. In the middle of all the hugging and all the tears and all the stories they were telling me today, this dear man gave me a side hug and he said, "My whole life has been a roller coaster. But, today the roller coaster stopped because there at the cross, he's in your living room. He's in your bedroom. He's in your car. Because there at the cross, Jesus took my darkest nights. He took my worst days." A man came up to me. His wife's left him. He feels worthless. He feels useless, but he came up to me and he said, "You know what? After the cross, I'm going to finish strong." Wife's still left him. All the hurt is still there, but he's committed himself to finish strong.

I looked at that man as I'm looking at somebody today through this radio broadcast, and I said, "Your better days are your latter days, the best days of your life are ahead." And he nods his head and I can tell by the twinkle in the eye that he's getting it. And he goes, "I get that. If I commit myself to follow Jesus, this hurt is bad, homes broken, wife's gone, whatever, that I know that I can finish strong."

My daddy when he died, I think Jim Dobson and I talked about this years ago, but when daddy died at age 88, he took my mommy's hand. As he was dying, he held it over her head, after 66 years of serving that dear lady. I know what daddy was saying to Jesus, even though he couldn't talk. He was dying as he held mommy's hand over his head in his hands.

I know he was saying, "Jesus, we've done this for 66 years. Let's go together." I just said to the men in a seminar, I just said, "Men, it's not how you start the race, but it's how you finish the race that counts."

I got 24 hours, Tim. That's all I got. I've got 24 hours to live and I know by the power of what happened in front of that cross today, the Holy Spirit, I know for 24 hours I can follow Jesus and so can you. I may have another 24. I hope so, but I know for 24 hours. A guy just came up to me at the pornography seminar just a minute ago and he was just so beat down with porn. He's probably a 55 year old man. But, he decided for the next 24 hours, he would be pure. He promised for the next 24 hours he'd be pure and I'm positive he was telling the truth. And then he promised the next morning he would wake up and he would say, "Jesus, I promise for the next 24 hours, I'll be pure again." You've got 24 hours, like a dragonfly. Go do something with your life.

Tim Clinton: I'm thinking of the words of Jesus, when he said to the woman who was kind of adultery. He said, "Neither do I condemn you." But then he said this, "Go and sin no more." The doing of it, as we go forward. I'm putting a stake in the ground and saying from this day forward, what do we do? I know you're big on discipleship growing up in Christ. One step at a time, finding our way. Can you, as we begin to wrap up today's program, Joe talked to us about how significant that is. Why, especially for men?

Joe White: Yeah, it was really neat today. We didn't have a sand floor out there. It was a basketball arena we were in today, but it was like we were on a sandy beach and I was watching men take a steak and draw a line in the sand. As they came to the cross, bringing all of their sin, doubts, fears, failures to the cross, I saw crossing this line of demarcation, this line in the sand that they had drawn. As I saw them leaving all their sin at the altar, so we could nail it to the cross, I saw them going back to their seats changed, transformed, committed to following Christ well. That's the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

Tim, that's why you mentioned how important it is to be with a group, be with an accountability partner, meet with friends so that you can take that new life in Christ. Maybe you're feeling it today, maybe for the first time. I hope so. But as you start meeting with the Bible and a friend or two or three or four or five, then you can nurture it like a Petri dish and you continue in it and walk in it, so it can become the story of the rest of your life.

Tim Clinton: Joe, if this were the last time you and I were going to talk and we're looking at each other eye to eye, a Timothy in the faith, what would you leave me with?

Joe White: First of all, I'd look you in the face with tears in my eyes and say thanks for being my friend and thanks for running the race together. It's been a really, really good race. I would say that I admire you and I respect you. I would say to those that are hopefully fortunate enough to listen to us that Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above him, there's no other. As the old song says, Jesus is the way.

Tim Clinton: My dad said to me before he died, Joe, he said "Tim, it's because of him I'll see you again, son." And then he said, "If you serve him, Tim, with your whole heart, you'll be blessed. Stay close to him. Stay close to him."

Thanks for being my friend, Joe. Love your heart. Love the cross, the message of the cross that God has given to you to help to carry to the world. Joe, if people want to learn more about you, your ministry, how they could get you to show up in their town with that message, the cross, how they do it?

Joe White: My home is my favorite place to be. I've been married to Debbie-Jo for 45 years and I really like being next to her in that king size bed. [Crosstalk 00:23:18]

Tim Clinton: She's good people, man. I like her.

Joe White: Kanakuk is the name of our sports camps and it's the name of our ministry.

Tim Clinton: An amazing ministry. Amazing.

Joe White: We've been really blessed for 92 years, Tim. But it's Kanakuk. K-a-n-a-k-u-k. Kanakuk.com. That's where I live.

Tim Clinton: Hey, you're listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton hosting today. Special guest Joe White, Kanakuk Kamps, a man that God has raised up. I mean it for such a time as this. Pictures and video from the "Ignite Men's Impact Weekend" are being posted up on the website, as well as our Facebook page. Make sure and go up there and see this. You'll be encouraged about the amazing work of God at the "Ignite Men's Impact Weekend". Joe, thanks as always for being here with us and I really appreciate you and what God's called you to do.

Joe White: Thank you, Tim. It was my pleasure and honor.

Roger Marsh: Joe White made a great point during today's Family Talk broadcast. Every day when we wake up, we have 24 hours. We're not promised any more than that, so what we do in those 24 hours is vital. And it's important to know, that because of Jesus, we can spend our 24 hours free of shame and guilt because of the transforming power of the cross. If you want to learn more about Joe White, his many books, or if you want to learn more about his ministries, including Kanakuk Kamps, visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. That's drjamesdobson.org/broadcast for all that information. You can always give us a call, as well. We are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week to pray with you, to answer your questions about the James Dobson Family Institute, or simply recommend a resource for you.

Our toll-free number is (877) 732-6825. That's (877) 732-6825. For all of us here at the JDFI, I'm Roger Marsh and I want to leave you with a verse that Joe White quoted during today's program about what Jesus has done for us. In second Corinthians 5:21. Paul writes "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God." Amen. And amen.

Have a great weekend and until next week, take care, stay healthy and may God bless you. Thanks again for listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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