Michael Youssef - Raising Children in the Lord
Lorna Dueck: Okay, Dr. Youssef. You've just challenged us every day to learn from the lessons of Nehemiah. You know, Israel is still a family. It's still a big... it's a big symbol for all of us as we look at it in these incredible ways that it kept itself glued together, following God. Let's take this home to the Youssef family. Tell me about how you do that at home.
Dr. Michael Youssef: Well, when our kids were young, and the good news is they're now doing it with their kids, Scripture memorization, no television during the week, and prayer time every day. And you know, those are the foundational things that we established when the children were young, and so they grew up with it. And as they grew up with it, I just have great joy in watching them doing that with their kids.
Lorna Dueck: It sounds like a pretty rigid routine.
Dr. Michael Youssef: Well, in the beginning, you get a lot of resistance. And sometimes even later, kids said, "You know, they were watching this show and the other show, and they were talking about it in school, and I felt out of it". I said, "Good". I said, "You will thank me later. You don't wanna worry about that junk anyway. And just say, 'Hey, we didn't... I was reading. I didn't watch that.'" And you know what? It rubbed off. Some of their friends began to read instead of watching television. So, I mean, we are living in a world that is totally opposed to God. We have to understand that. Even 30 years ago, it was bad, but now it's really bad. And it's hard when you realize that you're investing for the future. One of our grandchildren, a set of two boys, they have the other grandparents are not believers, and even at that early age, they would come after visiting the other grandparents and they come in and say, "They don't know God". Nobody told them that. Nobody, you know, we don't do this, but they just see it. They sense it. Even when they were little, I mean, "Oh, they don't know God". And you know, it was a great opportunity, of course, to teach them.
Lorna Dueck: There is something very precious about that, "Come to me as a child," that Christ says. Is there a way we can keep fostering that as, like, things change so much when they become young adults? What's their advice for those stages, those later stages?
Dr. Michael Youssef: When they become young adults, and I always tell people when they ask my advice, I say, "Look, you got 18 years. You gotta do everything". Particularly in the United States where they have to go to college. We lived in Australia before where that's not the case. In fact, my wife lived at home until I married here. She went to university while she still lived at home and was teaching high school while she lived at home.
Lorna Dueck: We've got lots of those kids in Canada too.
Dr. Michael Youssef: Yes, but now here in America, they send 'em out at 18, and they go to college, that's the college experience, and that's fine. We did not resist that. We just said, "Okay". So, I got those 18 years. I've gotta do everything I need to do. And I reminded 'em again and again that they are children of the covenant, that we have claimed them to Christ, and even if they wander off, and some of them have. As I've had public testimony, one of my sons who actually runs "Leading the Way". Jim Dobson puts his testimony on the air a couple times a year, 'cause a powerful testimony. When he sought to run away for a little bit in college and God literally brought him back, you know, kicking and screaming, and literally saved his life. So, I always believed that if you trust God with your children, you've done your part, it's a covenant. God is gonna keep his part and he is not gonna let you down.
Lorna Dueck: Well, there's a lot of people waiting for that covenant to be seen.
Dr. Michael Youssef: Don't give up. Don't give up. I have lured people to Christ, successful businessmen, women in their late 50s, and one man particularly, a very prominent man in this city, I led him to the Lord at the age of 60. And every time we're together and praying together, he will sob and he said, "Ugh, I just wish my mother who had prayed for me," he said, "I could hear her praying for me when I was a young man. I wish she was here to see me giving my life to Christ". I said, "She will know in heaven". But this is God's timing. You know, don't look back. Look forward.
Lorna Dueck: There are so many 50-60-year-olds, in our nation for sure, that have missed their start with Jesus. Is it too late?
Dr. Michael Youssef: No, because God is the God who overrules. You see, if a person came to Christ late in life and never brought up his kids or her kids in the fear and nurture of the Lord, don't worry about it, trust God. 1 Corinthians 7 has a great impact on me 'cause I studied it closely when I saw believing husbands, non-believing wives, and so forth. And I became convinced after I studied this, what Paul is saying is that when God bring a member of the family to himself, he has a plan for the rest of the family. And he talks to the non-believing... to the believing spouse and said, "Your non-believing spouse, you stay with him or her. Otherwise, and he's sanctified in you, and otherwise your children are unclean". What's that mean? That means that they have a special place in the economy of God, and that when God brings somebody to his family, they may do it in their deathbed. We don't know, God is sovereign, but they will come if you claim him.
Lorna Dueck: Somebody's watching now who needs to come to Jesus. What do they do?
Dr. Michael Youssef: I want to say, do not wait one more second. Come to him now. He is so loving. His arms are wide open. He says, "Come to me, all who are travailed and heavy-laden. Come to me". Whatever problems are, don't come to him... as the old song said, "Just as you are". You don't have to clean up before you come to him. You have to come to him just as you are. He'll clean you up. Confess your sins. Ask him to forgive you and he will, and he'll give you the gift of eternal life and assures you of heaven right now. Not when you die, but now. And so, don't waste one single moment.
Lorna Dueck: Dr. Youssef, you've spent a good bit of time with us on the book of Nehemiah.
Dr. Michael Youssef: It's my honor, my privilege.
Lorna Dueck: And I'm really touched that your family legacy began with David Mainse's family legacy. And here we are, passing on the faith to many new generations.
Dr. Michael Youssef: Yes, yes.
Lorna Dueck: It's our theme this year, did you know that? "Generation to Generation," that's our theme this year.
Dr. Michael Youssef: I did not know that, but think about this. The man who literally gave up everything in Canada and went to a town in Egypt in the early 1900s, the '20s and the '30s, and was there for many years, then look at his children, David, and then his children, and now his grandchildren. And that's all God's wonderful promise, when Peter said in the Day of Pentecost, "The gift of the Holy Spirit is to you and your children". The problem is many people don't claim that, but God will honor those who claim it. And I know the Mainse family claimed it and look at them now. How blessed they are. And I am blessed just knowing them, even though at the time when Mr. Mainse, Sr. leaving, I was very, very small, but I still remember him.
Lorna Dueck: Wow.
Dr. Michael Youssef: Yeah, I was wearing a clerical collar and a black suit when he came to visit us in our home.
Lorna Dueck: Very precious story for our founder, Reverend David Mainse. Very precious story. Thank you for teaching us about Nehemiah. Thank you for writing, "God, Help Me Rebuild My Broken World". We want you to get your copy. We want you to get to know Dr. Michael Youssef as well as we've gotten to know him, and learn how to build the broken places in your life with the great disciplines of God. Thank you so much, Dr. Youssef.
Dr. Michael Youssef: My pleasure, Lorna. Thank you for coming down.
Lorna Dueck: Thank you.