Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Don't Drop the Baton

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says God calls each generation to pass on biblical truth to the next.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think the enemy would love nothing better than for one generation to drop the baton and to say, “We'll just—as long as things are okay in our generation, we're okay.” No, I live with a heart and a passion for these younger women who are coming up who are facing things that I have not had to face and dealing with tough issues and living in a very broken, prodigal world, but to say the grace of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are all that you need to be the woman He made you to be in your generation.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, September 3. Yesterday, we started celebrating a couple of big milestones with Nancy and a special guest host. He returns again today.

Bob Lepine: Well, again, let me make sure not to have anyone too confused as they hear me speaking on Revive Our Hearts. I'm Bob Lepine. I'm the co-host of FamilyLife Today and also serve as the co-host for a new program called In Context with Michael Easley. But I'm here on Revive Our Hearts today because of a special affinity that I have for your ministry, Nancy. I've been a part of the advisory board for Revive Our Hearts for seven years.

I don't know how many of our listeners know that your program is recorded in studios in Little Rock at the headquarters of FamilyLife, and our team's very involved in helping to produce your radio program because we believe strongly in your mission and in your ministry, and want to try to help support that as much as we can. I thought it would be good for us to spend some time today talking about what is ahead for Revive Our Hearts. You are today celebrating your 50th birthday, and Revive Our Hearts is 7 years old today. In fact, I remember the first day Revive Our Hearts aired was a Labor Day.

Nancy: I was actually born on a Labor Day.

Bob: My wife and I called you on the birthday of Revive Our Hearts, and we talked about being in labor on Labor Day with the new birth of this radio program . . .

Nancy: . . . which was also eight days before 9/11. So if we ever forget the year, that will help us remember that.

Bob: That's a marker for us, but thinking about what is ahead—and I know you have a lot on your heart in terms of where you'd like to see God direct the ministry of Revive Our Hearts—but one of the things that is just ahead for us is the first ever national women's conference that's going to be taking place next month in Chicago. There are thousands of women, not just from around the country, but from across the world, who are coming to Chicago for this conference.

Nancy: It's just a little over five weeks ahead, and our team has been working so hard over more than the past year. We are very excited about what we believe God is going to do, calling women together to unite around the Gospel and its implications in our lives as women, and I am so looking forward to being with the other speakers.

The opening night, Pastor John Piper will be calling us, as a pastor, to fulfill our calling as women, and then we'll be hearing from Joni Eareckson Tada and Mary Kassian and Janet Parshall. We've had many of these people on the program throughout this year as we've called it the year of the true woman. We're really praying that this will be, not just another event, though I think it will be a significant event and impacting in the lives of a lot of women, but that it will be another step in the developing of a movement.

As I think about the general election coming up this fall, of course, there's a lot of talk about that these days. But in God's economy, I just believe that several thousand women coming together, getting on our knees at points throughout that weekend—we've got kneelers because the floors are concrete floors at that Schaumburg Convention Center—but we want women who are physically able to able to get on our knees before the Lord and cry out to Him for our nation, for our homes. We're going to pray for prodigal children. We're going to pray for marriages. We're going to pray for the election and this country and its needs. Just women coming together to say, “We want to be praying women.”

That's not the whole conference, but a big part of it, I think, in God's economy. The impact may be further reaching and longer lasting than even what happens in this general election coming up.

Bob: As you've been preparing for this event, you've had opportunity to reflect back on a similar event that took place—what was it—30 or 40 years ago that women got together in Houston, Texas? And it sparked a revolution.

Nancy: It did. 1977 was a national women's conference, in that case funded, in some measure, by the federal government (who has not made any donations to our True Woman conference). Women were on a mission. At that time, the women's movement—it was entrenched, but it really was still a bit of a fringe movement. Some people still thought they were a little wacko. But they came together, and they inspired and inflamed women's hearts toward an agenda that was very much in keeping with the times but very much out of step with the Word of God.

We've seen the long-term fruit and impact and consequences of that movement. Younger women today, I find, have no idea that this all even took place because they've never known any different world than a world that's run by this feminist agenda.

Bob: You're looking at the True Woman conference and thinking this might be a new women's movement in America?

Nancy: I tell you, I would love to have people look back 30 years from now and say, “My life is different today; my home is different; our church is different; our culture is different because True Woman '08 took place, and several thousand women took to heart the message to say yes to the Lord, to waive the white flag of surrender, and to embrace His calling in their lives. They went back to their homes, back to their churches and began to live out the vision of biblical womanhood, the beauty of the Gospel in their lives to love and to serve and to bless their families.” Perhaps they would be able to look back and say, “This was the beginning of a grassroots movement of revival and biblical womanhood in the hearts of Christian women.”

Bob: Over the past several years, you've also had the opportunity to do a lot of writing. Many of our listeners are familiar with your book, Lies Women Believe, and the new book, Lies Young Women Believe. You've written on having a personal quiet time in a book called, A Place of Quiet Rest. You've written about Brokenness and Surrender and Holiness and Forgiveness, but you still have other things on your heart that you hope to write on in the days ahead, don't you?

Nancy: Well, people ask me what part of writing I like, and the part of writing I like is when you push send and send the manuscript to the publisher and then when you see the book actually come out. Actually, writing is an arduous thing for me.

I tell people I wouldn't do it for anybody other than Jesus, but I am so thankful for the way the Lord has used those books, not only in other women's lives—that's gratifying and rewarding—but maybe as important is the way He's used that writing in my own life. Because as I'm working on these books, God is working these subjects, these themes, into the warp and woof of my life. It's really a sanctifying process for me, and what I'm writing at any given time is often a reflection of what God is doing in my own heart.

We're working on a new book on gratitude. You know, I believe that the whole world looks different when you see it through grateful eyes, and I've also come to believe that there's nothing more unattractive than a whiny woman.

I've been that whiny woman plenty of times. I think the antidote to whininess and worry is a grateful spirit, so this is something I'm seeking to work into my own life. We're not sure on the timing of that book. Hopefully in '09 that will be released.

There are probably—I don't know—30, maybe several dozen books on my mind, but it takes more than having it on your mind to get it to become a book. We'll see where the Lord leads with all that.

Bob: In addition to books, you've also provided study guides and workbooks. I'm thinking of the Seeking Him study guide that was really more of a movement toward holiness and revival. What are you thinking about in that direction?

Nancy: This whole thing of revival is—it's a word that's not really in vogue today in many circles, but it's something that is a biblical concept. God put that on my heart when I was a young girl, just believing Him to release the power of His Holy Spirit into the lives of believers, into their homes and their churches so that we would no longer have business as usual in our churches.

It's a sad thing to me today that so many of our young people are leaving the church when they get out of high school and have the freedom to do so because apparently they've not seen something in my generation and in our churches that is winsome and compelling to them. They've not seen Christ to be the pearl of great price and a treasure worth cherishing.

That says to me that we need revival in our lives and in the church. For many years I have longed to see a release of God's Spirit in revival in the Church and in our churches. That burden came to me even years before the burden for biblical womanhood, so now as we put those together, we're saying, “Lord, would You be pleased?” and I could die a happy woman if I could live to see a release of God's Spirit in revival.

I believe if it happens among women, then the entire body of Christ will be impacted. The entire world will be impacted, so we are first calling women to experience the reality of a relationship with Jesus Christ and what a difference that makes in their lives. I think you can't calculate the impact that will have, even throughout our culture.

Bob: What do you imagine that might look like? As you think back on historical revivals, oftentimes they were contained to a geographic location, a city or maybe a small country. You think about the United States and 300,000,000 people; is it possible that God could visit? Certainly it's possible, but is there historic precedence for that kind of a large-scale move of the Spirit of God?

Nancy: When things are as dark as they are, you tend to think it's never been this bad before. The opposition is so great. The flood of evil is so great, but you know, it has been this bad before.

You go back to the Roman era. You go back to the early days of our country. We think those were the golden days, but God began to move by the power of His Spirit in different places, in different people, but a heavenly orchestrated moving of His Spirit that resulted in a—if I could say it—a conflagration of His Spirit, like a wildfire spreading across what was this country at the time.

God can do that in a moment of time. Now, we can't make that happen. We can't manufacture it. We can't produce it or program it, but we can, as G. Campbell, Morgan, a great Bible teacher of the last generation, used to say, “We can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.”

That's what we're trying to do is to prepare the soil, to say to people, as John the Baptist did when he came proclaiming that the Messiah was coming, that Christ was coming—he came saying, “Prepare the way for the Lord. Christ is coming.”

We don't know God's timing. We don't know His ways, but we can prepare the soil of our own hearts. We can plant the seeds of the truths that will result in God moving. As to what that looks like, it varies from revival to revival, but there are some common characteristics.

  • You see this awesome awareness of the presence of God, that people are just—they're struck down by this sense that God is here.
  • There's conviction of sin.
  • There's an awareness of the holiness of God, so we can't make light of sin. We can't joke about it.
  • There's an intense earnestness about making right the wrongs of the past, that clearing of consciences.

I think we'll see a lot of that kind of thing going on, just multiplied many times over.

Bob: I know as you were talking about the ministry of John the Baptist preparing the way for the coming of the Lord, I thought about the proclamation of liberty to the captives, and one of the burdens on your heart has been for women who are oppressed around the world, women who are in bondage or in slavery in other countries. You've had opportunity here in this country to minister to women who are in prison. Talk about that aspect of the ministry of Revive Our Hearts and where you see it going in the future.

Nancy: Well, from the very beginning of Revive Our Hearts, I felt that first, our listeners, those who would listen to a radio broadcast like Revive Our Hearts, we need to see them set free from the shackles of sin and self and pride, but I also felt that this was not just something for us to enjoy or experience, that when God does a work in us, He wants to spread that through us to others.

I think of, for example, the Proverbs 31 woman, and we think about how selfless she is in serving. She's doing things for her family, but then it says, “She reaches out her hands to the poor,” (verse 20 paraphrase).

There are many different kinds of poor people and a lot of different situations in life, but it's been my burden that as God does a great work in our readers and listeners, that then He would use us to be a blessing to others who may never hear this radio broadcast or may never read one of my books but can be impacted by another woman's life.

We have had the privilege of ministering to women who were incarcerated throughout this country. In fact, I just got, this week, a fresh batch of correspondence that's come in to the ministry. Others respond to these letters on our behalf as a ministry, and then they send them to me so I can read them and see what these women are saying.

Many of the letters in this fresh batch—and it's true every time—have come from women who are incarcerated, and they say, “I heard about one of your books,” or, “God's doing a work in my life. I've been six and a half months free from this drug addiction. I'm getting ready to go back out into the free world, and I don't want to go back into my old lifestyle. Could you send me something that would help?”

We're reaching out as a ministry, but we're also encouraging our listeners to reach out to people in their community, in their world, who are in these straights and to be the hands and the heart of Jesus to women who are in difficult circumstances who need the Gospel, those who are in prison.

We had the opportunity recently of interviewing a number of women who are post-abortive and who have dealt with those issues, and I realize that one out of every three or four women in this country has had an abortion. Think of all the post-abortive consequences and issues that they're dealing with. Here are some women who are desperately in need of healing, of the grace of God. We want to reach out in a greater way to these women.

You've referenced in other countries, women who are involved in the sex trade. I'm learning more about the fact that that goes on in this country, as well, so we're looking for ways, as a ministry, to reach out with the Gospel, to see these women set physically free, but also to see them come to know Christ.

I carry a burden for women who live in Islamic parts of the world and have been in that system or other systems who have been oppressed as women, to come to know the liberating, life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we come to this seven-year marker of the ministry, we're looking for ways to reach out beyond our own listeners, beyond those who look like, talk like, act like us and to say, “Lord, how can we have an outreach into these other parts of society and of the world and really see the Gospel make a difference?”

Bob: I made the observation with you at a board meeting not long ago that these past several years in your life have been productive years of ministry, that God had been at work. A number of books have been written, the radio program, conferences, lots of women being touched and influenced, and I said, “I think there is greater ministry ahead for you.”

Nancy: Well, let me give the context for that comment because I think our listeners will be interested in that. We were talking about what the future should look like in ministry expansion, and I was thinking ahead and said, “You know, I've never been in my 50s. I'm just approaching that. I don't know what that will be like, and, you know, we women go through life changes.” I said, “I don't know if I'll have—what kind of energy or mindset or health or what that will look like as I get into my 50s and beyond.”

You said—and I was so grateful that you did, Bob, because I think it was a word spoken in due season—you said, “I really believe that as you get into your 50s, God is going to double your productivity.” I remember laughing—we all did as a board at the time—and saying, “I hope that doesn't mean twice as much work,” but I don't think that's what you meant. I think we envision that, by God's grace and the power of His Spirit, there is greater fruitfulness ahead, and I think one of the reasons for that, I hope, is that I'm growing as a woman of God in my relationship with the Lord.

In recent years, I'm feeling increasingly comfortable calling myself an older woman. I don't know what Paul meant, exactly, in Titus two when he talks to the older women, and some say that's around 60. I'm not there yet, but I certainly am an older woman now to a lot of women. The biblical concept is that as we age, we're supposed to age in wisdom and in grace and in love for Christ.

I've said I don't want to become a cantankerous, brittle, negative, older woman. I want to have a more gracious spirit, to be more full of Christ.

Well, what are we supposed to do with that? We're supposed to leave a legacy. We're supposed to invest in the lives of others, and as I look back on my younger years as a woman, there are a lot of people, men and women, who have invested spiritually in my life—pastors, teachers, parents, godly women who've spoken into my life.

They have passed a baton of faith on to me. I'm standing on the shoulders of some great, godly men and women, and I have a responsibility now to pass that legacy on to the next generation of women, to pass that baton on intact so that the race can continue.

I don't have children of my own. God has not blessed me with that calling, but I still believe that I have a responsibility and a great privilege to now speak into the lives of those women of the next generation so that long after I'm gone, Lord willing, those women will be coming up and speaking into their generation and into the one to follow.

In fact, that's how the Christian faith has always been passed on, one generation to the next, and I think the enemy would love nothing better than for one generation to drop the baton and to say, “We'll just—as long as things are okay in our generation, we're okay.”

No, I live with a heart and a passion for these younger women who are coming up who are facing things that I've not had to face and dealing with tough issues and living in a very broken, prodigal world, but to say the grace of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are all that you need to be the woman He made you to be in your generation.

Bob: So as you think about ten years from today . . .

Nancy: Wow!

Bob: . . . when it will be your 60th birthday and when Revive Our Hearts will be 17 years old, and we'll look back on this decade of double productivity or double the influence, perhaps, what's the burden God has for where you'd like to see Him take this ministry?

Nancy: I have to answer that in two ways. First is for my own life because ministry flows out of life. What I don't have in my own life, I can't impart to others, so first on my heart, as I think about this next decade, is I want to have a faithful walk with God, to know that I know God better; that I am sweeter-spirited; that I am more loving, more wise, more gracious, more full of faith; that I am more of a praying woman than I am today; that I am full of the Holy Spirit of God in greater ways than I could even imagine today.

Then I would love to know, as I'm moving into my 60s and may not be always doing exactly the things I'm doing today—there will be a time to turn this ministry over to younger women, to other teachers. I'm looking for those people.

As I'm meeting people in different places, conferences, etc., sometimes moms will bring their younger daughters to meet me, and I'm thinking, "The next Elisabeth Elliot is out there somewhere." She may be 17 today or 23, and the next one may be 7 right now.

I'm asking God to identify who are those women who will carry this baton, who will take this message, not that I have intentions of retiring at 60, but I would love to know that all across this country that there are cells of women, groups of women who are:

  • praying women
  • believing women
  • women who are filled with the Spirit of God
  • women who love their husbands well
  • women who love their children well
  • single women who are serving the Lord whole-heartedly

Their lives all across this country and around the world are bright lights for Jesus Christ. They are shining and living out the Gospel of Christ. They are suffering well when God calls them to do that. They are women who know God. They know His Word.

They're spiritual reproducers and that there would be thousands and hundreds of thousands, and, O Lord, could it be true? millions of women living out the passion and the vision of love for Christ and what it means to be a woman of God. It's a grassroots movement, and to see that would bring great joy to my heart.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss turns 50 today, and her thoughts on this special day are so helpful to all of us, no matter what season of life we're in. All of us need personal integrity and intimacy with God. All of us need to be sharing God's truth with others.

We're so thankful for the ministry God has given Revive Our Hearts as we celebrate seven years on the air today, and we're thankful for all God will do in the future. If you have a passion for the type of ministry Nancy's been describing, would you donate to Revive Our Hearts?

God has provided what we need over the last seven years, and if He wants Revive Our Hearts to continue as a ministry, we trust Him to put the need on the hearts of our listeners. You can respond by visiting our website, ReviveOurHearts.com. Click on the word “donate,” or call 1-800-569-5959.

Well, we've taken a break to celebrate two birthdays, seven years for Revive Our Hearts and 50 for Nancy, but tomorrow, we'll pick back up with the series Remember Miriam. Hear about the destructive nature of criticism tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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