Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Like the Shepherd, Day 1

Young woman: I’ve been struggling with different things lately. My family is broken and in desperate need of God’s intervention, so my sister and I are very much going through life alone—making decisions I wish I had a godly father to help me make.

Leslie Basham: A few weeks ago, Revive Our Hearts got an email from a health care worker and graduate student.

Young woman: By God’s grace, I started listening to Revive Our Hearts about halfway through the series on Titus 2.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth [clip from a previous radio program]: You and I can know the Bible backward and forward, we can have all our pretty little markers to mark up our Bibles, but if we’re not practicing self-control at home, then something is wrong with that picture!

Young woman: I downloaded the Revive Our Hearts phone app so I could listen on my way to work in the morning. Every day that I’ve listened to this radio series on Titus, I was struck and convicted of different things in my own life that I need to repent of and change.

We are parched—and in desperate need of the truth in our compromising generation!

Nancy [continues in earlier program]: When we Christians claim to follow Christ and believe our Bible but we don’t live out the implications of God’s Word, then we cause the Word of God to be dishonored!

Young woman: Hearing the Titus 2 series has been like getting caught in a late summer shower after working outside in the heat of the day—so refreshing and good and cleansing! God’s Word is like that.

Nancy: If you’ve ever supported Revive Our Hearts, you haven’t just made a donation. Your gift results in a young woman like this one immersing herself in God’s Word in her car before work, learning how to live out the beauty of the gospel.

My heart is full to overflowing when I hear a story like this one, but at the same time it’s also heavy . . . because over the last six months, donations have been lower than we projected. That means that right now we’re facing a significant budget gap and have been dipping into emergency reserve funds. Obviously, we can’t continue doing that for long.

At the same time, we usually see a decline in giving over the summer months. So, to prepare for the summer, we count on more donations to arrive in the month of May. And May 31 is the end of our fiscal year, which means that we’re wrapping up the books and beginning a new budget cycle.

So put all that together and we’re asking the Lord to provide $830,000 in donations during the month of May. Here at the outset of this month, I’d like to ask if you would pray with us about this important need, and if you’d ask Him how He would want you to have a part in helping to meet that need.

To make a donation, you can visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Together with your partnership, we want to show the next generation the value of getting to know God’s Word in a deep life-changing way.

Young woman: Thanks so much for being willing to speak the full unerring precious Word of God Most High. It is good. It gives life and joy to those who treasure it!

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Brokenness, for Monday, May 1, 2017.

Last week here on Revive Our Hearts, Damaris Carbaugh helped us appreciate the richness of Psalm 23—and that familiar phrase, “the Lord is my shepherd.” She explained how Jesus is our ultimate Shepherd.

But husbands are called to follow His example and serve as shepherds, as well. Robert Wolgemuth has released a new book encouraging husbands to embrace this role. And Nancy, I know we’re all excited to hear from your husband, Robert, this week.

Nancy: Let me say to our listeners that this is an unusual kind of discussion we’re having this week. Usually, we’re speaking as women to women about women subjects (that’s our audience), calling women to find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. But we know we have some men who listen to the program—and a lot of women who listen have husbands or dads or sons or sons-in-law—so occasionally we’ll make an exception and have a man come on and talk about subjects that might be of greater interest to men.

Although, honey, as I read this book—and as I’ve read the comments from some other women who have read this book—it’s a book that’s a worthwhile read for women. In fact, let me read a couple of comments that women made on the Like the Shepherd Facebook page.

Some of the early readers said, “Even though the audience for this book is men and husbands, I’m totally immersed in the book and find it hard to put down. I keep resetting my timer for “just a little longer.” 

Another woman said, “Once I picked it up, I just kept reading, and all of the sudden I’d finished it! Robert’s style of writing makes me feel like I’m sitting in his living room having a casual conversation."

We asked some of those women, “What is it about this book that’s intended for husbands that you particularly found helpful?” Over the next two or three days I’ll read some of those to you. Here’s one:

One woman said, “I’ve loved reading Like a Shepherd because it has opened my eyes to ways my husband of fifty-four years has been shepherding me. I’ve been able to tell him—specifically—how much I appreciate all the ways he leads me.”

So I think we’ve got a happy husband there, who may not have read the book himself yet. As his wife saw the value of encouragement in a marriage—by reading this book intended for husbands, primarily—she was encouraged to be more of an encouragement to her husband.

Robert Wolgemuth: That’s so motivating for a husband—for your wife to catch you doing something right and for her to encourage you. Now, sometimes correction is necessary or a little word of advice here and there, but catching your husband doing something right and saying, “Sweetheart, that was amazing! Way to go! Well done!” is incredibly motivating. And if men are listening to what I said just now, they’re fist-bumping me, they’re high-fiving me, they’re saying, “That is exactly right. I love it when my wife encourages me!”

Nancy: And we get that as women, because we love to be encouraged. Who doesn’t? That’s not a gender thing. Words of encouragement, words of affirmation, making a big deal about things that are praiseworthy.

That’s biblical. Philippians 4:8. . . whatever things are pure, true, good, lovely, of good report, excellent, virtuous (whichever translation you’re using). . . think about these things. The things we think about are the things we’re going to talk about.

Robert: That’s right. And life tends to be really daily, right? You have your assignment, you do your thing, you head off to work, you come back. “How was your day?”

“Fine, honey, how was your day?”

You’ve got kids to take here and there, groceries to buy. . . It’s routine. You have to intentionally stop and say, “Do you know how much I appreciate when you [did whatever, just one of those things, it may be you] rolled the garbage can out to the curb?”. . . especially coming from people we love and care about.

If a stranger comes up to you and says something encouraging, that’s one thing. But somebody who knows you so well—knows all your flaws and apprehensions and insecurities and fears—says, “I appreciate so much when you did so-and-so,” that’s incredibly motivating. Like you said—you’re right—it goes both ways. It isn’t just for husbands!

Nancy: We really try to do that. I know, we’re newlyweds still kind of, but we really try to say “thank you,” to notice little things, to appreciate it, to express it. You’re amazing at that, and you set the bar pretty high.

I’m sitting here thinking as we’re talking, if I’m not mistaken, did you roll the garbage out this morning?

Robert: I did!

Nancy: I didn’t notice! Because we ran out of the house fast this morning, but thank you, honey, for doing that.

Robert: You’re welcome. And actually, the guy came, and I’ve rolled it back in the garage . . . so we’re back to square one.

Nancy: Well, no wonder I didn’t notice it was out.

Robert: That’s right. It’s all taken care of—my favorite thing.

Nancy: Thank you. And before you did that, you went to all the rooms and gathered the garbage out of—how many?—like thirty-nine garbage cans at our house? It’s a lot!

So, yeah, those little things. Sometimes the repeated things and the things that are easy to take for granted. It’s a big deal to say to each other, “I noticed that. Thank you so much.” It doesn’t have to be high drama.

Robert: No, that’s right. In fact it’s better if it’s not. Just the routine stuff: “I noticed it. I appreciate it. Way to go. I love you.” All those things.

Nancy: Well, all those things about the trash. Thank you so much.

Robert: My pleasure.

Nancy: Like the Shepherd: Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace. I think our listeners would be interested in knowing how this book was born, how you really got the idea. This was something that you had lived, something that’s been a burden on your heart. You’ve written a lot of books. What was it that planted the seeds for you to write this book?

Robert: So we’re out to dinner in March of 2015, in Orlando, Florida (where at the time I lived, had a home) . . .

Nancy: This was early in our relationship. 

Robert: It was very early, yes. Of course, I’d followed you professionally, and saw what you did in your ministry—through Revive Our Hearts and your writing ministry—and I knew that you were on the radio every day and that thousands (yea, tens and hundreds of thousands) of women listen to you. I know your message. I’m very familiar with your message.

We’ll talk about that, I’m sure, as we have this conversation—I’m a big fan of your message. I know that when women come to a conference (maybe you’re a listener, right now, who’s been to a conference and you know exactly where I’m going to go) Nancy’s message to you is very biblically based: “Let your husband lead!

“Well,” I said to Nancy, “these women read your books, listen to the radio, go to the conferences. You open the Word and you show them, ‘This isn’t just Nancy’s opinion.’ You show them where the Scripture makes it very clear about roles in a marriage. And so, these women go home—maybe their husband’s been watching over the kids while they were out for a few days—whatever. Let’s just say that he’s got the TV on, and he’s watching the NFL or Major League baseball. He has no idea what his wife has just learned. He doesn’t know.”

So I’m setting up this scenario as we’re eating dinner. And I said, “Who’s going to tell him what you’ve just learned? Because in so many ways, it’s really good news. This is fantastic news!” In fact, I said in the moment (I’ve been in the publishing business forty years, so titling books is part of my job description), “Actually, I think I’d like to call the book You’re a Lucky Dog.”

Nancy: This book for husbands whose wives have just heard this message. 

Robert: Exactly, thank you. I looked into your face, and I realized that wasn’t a good idea. That was just my idea—and not a good one! But here’s the point: a man’s wife has heard this powerful message about husbands—head of the home, leading their wives—and that ought to be a really great piece of news. But what if they don’t know that? What if they haven’t heard what their wife has heard?

So I said (actually I don’t remember if you said it or I said it), there ought to be a book that describes this to a man from a man who has experienced this, and it says to him, “Alright, here’s where your wife is coming from, and here’s what this means to you.” Now, I joked about “You’re a Lucky Dog,” but it is good news!

Nancy: But it can also be scary news.

Robert: Oh, it’s scary news. I’m imaging a quarterback sitting on the bench . . . and let’s say that the other quarterback has been injured, or let’s say that his team has been on defense and it’s time to run out on the field. So he runs out on the field, and now he has the responsibility of calling the plays and making the team move down the field. I’ve known NFL quarterbacks and know their joy of actually being successful, but I also know their risks, the challenges of being in charge and making the calls and throwing the passes and trying to outsmart the defense. He’s in charge! That’s the good news. The bad news is, at the end of the game they post how many times the quarterback was sacked. If you watch the replay of a quarterback being sacked, sometimes you wonder how in the world the man gets back up on his feet. It’s a very dangerous thing. So it’s the blend of the joy of leadership and the dangers of leadership as well.

He [the husband] is the leader. This is his deal. His wife has said, “Sweetheart, I believe that God has ordained your role in our relationship for you to be the leader.” But that’s a lot of responsibility!

This is probably our sin nature, Nancy, but we tend to be blamers. “This is the way I am because (fill in the blank). I had a coach who was unkind to me . . . a dad who didn’t pay attention . . . whatever. Well, this is a “no excuses” kind of experience.

I’m the leader; the Lord has given me that responsibility. As my wife, you have underscored the truth of this mandate, for a man. That’s my role. And we’ll talk it about it, I’m sure, in this conversation, but there are a lot of ways that manifests itself.

It’s good news, and it’s sobering news. “You’re the leader!” Good news. “You’re the leader!” Sobering news. And so, in that moment in that restaurant in Orlando, the seed was planted—the book began to take shape.

I really didn’t have an image in mind. The shepherd thing came a couple months later. Just the way the Lord used that metaphor in our relationship, our friendship, our love for each other—sort of set the table for this being the guiding principle for this book, Like the Shepherd.

Nancy: We’re going to talk about some of the ways that this is sobering news on the next couple of days. Because I imagine some husband is thinking, My wife is more spiritual than I am. She’s been a Christian longer. She’s been to more Bible studies than I could ever go to, so how could how I possibly be the leader? We’ll address some of those challenges that husbands may feel, but I want to stick for a moment with this shepherd metaphor. That became a recurring prominent theme during the early days of our relationship.

Robert: It did.

Nancy: In fact, “our song” hearkens to that.

Robert: It does. That came sort of into focus when we were actually out to dinner and there was a man playing the piano in the corner of the restaurant—a wonderful acoustic piano—and he was playing old love songs. 

Nancy: None of which I knew! All of which you knew!

Robert: Almost. So you and I were talking along, and then I’d hear a line from one of these love songs, and I would just break into my conversation with you by singing one of these lines. As we talked about love songs—and most couples have “our song,” right—we decided that there’s nothing more romantic than old hymns. You and I are connoisseurs of old hymns.

Nancy: I’m sure that sounds kind of nerdy.

Robert: “Sounds nerdy,” nothin’! It is nerdy! And we’re happy to be nerds—in that category. So, we decided that we love hymns—that they are romantic. Our favorite hymn is "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us."

Nancy: “. . . much we need thy tender care.”

Robert: That’s it, boy, that’s it! Together we’re admitting that we need a Shepherd, because we need His tender a care. Yes, that became our song, so titling the book Like the Shepherd was sort of a no-brainer, like, “Okay, that’s perfect!”

Nancy: So, the Shepherd is our Great Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, and we both have to follow that Shepherd. It’s not just the husband who follows the Shepherd . . . the wife does as well. But in your mind that became kind of a template, or a metaphor, for a husband’s calling in a marriage to represent the Good Shepherd by being a human shepherd in his wife’s life.

Robert: That’s right. I taught Sunday school for almost forty years, and the first Sunday of every year for almost forty years, I taught out of Hebrews 12. The second verse says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith . . .” (ESV). Well, that’s exactly the image here.

The Good Shepherd is our example. We watch what He does with us, we watch how He treats His people. We look at His gentleness, His leadership. In fact, it’s so interesting . . . The image of a cowboy is far more American than a shepherd, right?

Nancy: Yeah, a shepherd can sound kind of like a sissy-thing.

Robert: Oh, yes, it really does sound like a sissy-thing. So you’ve got a cowboy who’s on his horse, and he’s driving cattle (we’ve all seen movies about what that looks like). The guy’s out there (I really can’t imagine not showering for two weeks while you’re moving cattle across the country!) . . .

Nancy: Neither can the wives!

Robert: [So we’re more accustomed to the image of driving cattle, not leading sheep. The interesting thing about that is the cattle have no choice. There’s a bunch of cowboys out there, and they’ve got lassos and whips. They’ve got dogs barking at the cattle’s heels, so that if a cow or steer gets out of line, they pay the price for it!

A shepherd leads . . . which means the sheep willingly follow. The image is so different. Here’s a man-illustration: If I get on a horse and say, “Giddyup!” the horse can decide to go or throw me off.

There’s a lot more apprehension to horseback riding than there is to motorcycle riding. You sit on a motorcycle, you turn it on, you twist the handle, and you’re off! The motorcycle has no will of its own.

When you lead sheep, those sheep always have a will of their own. Your leadership is persuasive and gentle and compelling—all of those things that give your wife the joy of choosing to follow your lead. That’s a lot more work!

If you’re in the military and you’re the general, the people under your care don’t have a choice. You holler out, “Frog!” and they jump. But in a marriage, where you’re the shepherd and your wife is the lamb, you have the opportunity (let’s say) to be the kind of person that she would like to follow. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will!

You don’t follow my lead because I tell you to. You follow my lead because you’ve chosen to, because you want to be like I am. You want to be treated like I’m treating you. Where do I learn that? Savior, like a shepherd lead us. That really is the whole idea of this book.

Nancy: We’re going to pick up this conversation tomorrow and just talk about some of the challenging aspects of being the leader—and of being the follower—of living out this shepherd metaphor in the context of marriage.

Robert’s book is called Like the Shepherd: Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace. And as we’ve already said, I think this is a book that will be very helpful to women—even though it’s written primarily to husbands.

If you think this is something your husband or a son—or a son-in-law or a dad—would be open to reading, would be encouraged by, we’re making it available to our listeners this week for a gift to Revive Our Hearts of any amount.

You can give us a call at 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com. Let us know that you’d like to make a gift to Revive Our Hearts’ ministry that’s speaking into the lives of women—as Robert just described a few moments ago. And be sure to let us know that you’d like a copy of Robert’s book Like the Shepherd.

I’m just thinking, Father’s Day is not many weeks away, so if you request that book now, we’ll be able to get that to you in time for Father’s Day. You may want to make that a gift to a special man—a shepherd—in your life.

Leslie: And, Nancy, like you said at the beginning of today’s program, we really need listeners to respond here in May.

Nancy: Yes, we really do, Leslie. Donations to the ministry have declined over the past few months, and we’ve been dipping into emergency savings to keep this program coming to you each weekday.

As I shared earlier, we especially feel the weight of this need in May, which is the end of our fiscal year. That’s when we reevaluate what we can do as a ministry, and we set our new budgets for the coming year.

The need we’re facing at this time is particularly serious. That’s why we’re asking the Lord to provide $830,000 in donations during the month of May. That’s, without question, the biggest fiscal year-end goal that we’ve ever set.

When you make a donation to Revive Our Hearts this month, it’s going to have a huge effect on the ministry moving forward. If the Lord’s prompting you to help us with this need, you can call us at 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

And when you make your donation, be sure and request a copy of Robert’s book, Like the Shepherd.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Robert Wolgemuth says he learns how to be a better shepherd by being a sheep and having a heavenly Shepherd.

Robert: One of the most important concepts in all of life is the idea of being an apprentice. I worked for a contractor all the way through college, and I learned how to do all the trades—from masonry to electrical work to carpentry, everything—by watching him do it.

I could have read a manual (back then we didn’t have youtube), but I learned how to do it by watching somebody who was an expert do it. That’s the idea here: I am learning how to be a shepherd by being a sheep and having a Shepherd. I talk about that a lot!

So I have a greater capacity to be a good shepherd by watching my Good Shepherd and being an obedient sheep under His leadership. Then I know what it looks like. I’ve seen somebody else do it, I’ve experienced it from the Good Shepherd, and now I have some clues as to how to do it in my own home.

Leslie: Robert will explain more tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries. 

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