INTERVIEW WITH REB BRADLEY
The following was excerpted from an interview given to the weekly e-newsletter Lifetime Treasures, published for the Father’s Day 2001 edition. The questions were posed by Bob Farewell, owner of Lifetime Books and Gifts, and publisher of Lifetime Treasures.
Bob: Tell us about your lifestyle.
Reb: After 45 years of city and suburb life, I decided a few years ago to move to the country. I wanted to have a place of solitude away from the city, which would give my children the opportunity to learn the kind of responsibility that comes from farm life. We now live on a small farm in northern California, outside Sacramento.
Bob: How has moving to the country affected your lives?
Reb: As a pastor, I needed rest as well as time carved out just for my family, but with my home in the middle of the church community, quiet and privacy were difficult to find. I now commute 25 minutes more each day, but when I arrive home I hear the silence of the country and see the beauty of farmlands. The work on the property is harder than taking care of lawns and sprinklers in the city, but I find myself restored and rested when I am plowing fields and repairing irrigation lines. My children are enjoying the benefit of being able to run free outside and they like doing chores that are more than maintaining flower beds and trimming lawns.
Bob: Tell us about Beverly's experience in a wheelchair.
Reb: Fifteen years ago Beverly was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which left her with such severe joint pain that she walked with a cane and needed a wheelchair much of the time. After three years of living with this debilitating disease, she had an experience that changed that. The experience she had was related to forgiveness. The Lord had been dealing in Bev's life about her need to forgive someone who had molested her when she was young.
She believed she had forgiven him, but it occurred to her one day that she needed to tell him that she forgave him. So she wrote him a letter and told him that if he ever took responsibility for what he had done, he was to know that she had already forgiven him. He received the letter and never acknowledged to her what he had done, but Beverly discovered the next morning after writing the letter that her pain was gone, and she didn't need her cane or her wheelchair any more. In fact, she hasn't needed them since.
The fibromyalgia still remains in her system, and flares up a little when she is under stress, but its debilitating effects disappeared that day and have never returned. It was quite a lesson to us on how unforgiveness may literally cripple the body, and how forgiveness can restore it.
Bob: What are your goals for your children and your family?
Reb: Each January I gather the men of our church and we all write out our goals for our families. Some are specific and others are more general.
My general goals for my family are:
1. To raise children to love and honor God in all things.
2. To train them to love and serve others just as Christ does.
Bob: Does your family have a family vision?
Reb: If there is a vision for my family, it is that we would behave, love, and forgive as Christ through all adversity.
Bob: Tell us about the article you wrote for WorldNetDaily: "'What's happened to America?' The ultimate answer."
Reb: After the Columbine massacre I was asked by Joe Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily, to write an article about the cause of the tragedy as it related to parenting. The essence of the article was that the boys who perpetrated the violence were representative of a society made up of individuals who lack self-control. The problem was not a shortage of after-school programs or lenient gun laws – the problem was that the boys were ruled by their whims and their passions.
My ultimate point was that America's moral decline was a result of parents failing to raise their children with the character trait of self-control. People have always had anger, always coveted, and always lusted, but the overt expression of those passions has increased in the last 40 years because children are not raised to say "no" to themselves. That article can be found at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=16149
Bob: What do you believe are the most important tape sets you have produced?
Reb: The most foundational tape set I have done is BIBLICAL INSIGHTS INTO CHILD TRAINING. It lays for parents the foundational principles they need to successfully raise children. If a parent has that and my book CHILD TRAINING TIPS they have a wonderful foundation for raising obedient, God-loving children.
Along side that is my tape set THE BIBLICAL PATH TO MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH. For all who desire complete "wholeness" (which should be all of us), it offers strong biblical guidance to walking the Christian walk. When I originally presented it as a series of 12 Sunday sermons, our church went through revival. We had a number of people get off psychiatric medication once they discovered the Bible's secrets to mental and emotional wholeness.
I wish this set were in the hands of all pastors. I believe that many would change their view of the Bible, and consequently change their teaching and their counseling if they understood how perfect and complete the Word is. I believe God omitted nothing from it, and that it contains everything we need for life and godliness. I do not believe that the human wisdom accumulated in the last 100 years has benefited the followers of Jesus. I do not believe the Church was handicapped when it had only the Bible.
It is my prayer that God will use that tape set, and the ministries of others who teach the same truths, to revolutionize the Church, as I have seen it do to my own.
Bob: Which tape sets are hardest for you to do?
Reb: The hardest seminars I do are the ones that convict me most, which are typically my sessions on fatherhood. However I actually enjoy those because I get to preach to myself when I speak to others. I always leave those seminars encouraged and energized to do better at home.
Bob: Which of your books would you recommend for every father to read?
Reb: I think every father should read CHILD TRAINING TIPS and should listen to my tape set FATHERS: SAVING THE NEXT GENERATION.
He should also read to his children FOXE'S CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF THE WORLD (a modern English version published by Barbour Publishing.) It will groom your children to believe that Jesus is worth dying for, and give them new heroes.
Bob: Who is your favorite author?
Reb: My favorite author is the late Richard Wurmbrand, who wrote TORTURED FOR CHRIST. I read and reread his books all the time. The reason being that he writes about those who have suffered persecution and have loved their torturers. Pastor Wurmbrand himself was tortured for 14 years at the hands of Romanian Communists. His testimonies paint for me a picture of what Jesus is like to those who hate him. He inspires me by clearly showing me what I am called to be. I had the good fortune of knowing Pastor Wurmbrand when he was alive, so had opportunities to watch him be empty of himself and full of Jesus. When I want strong theology and to know about who God is I read J.I. Packer or some of the Puritans, but when I want to see who Jesus is I read Wurmbrand.
Bob: What would you like your readers to know that experience has taught you?
Reb: The greatest lesson I have learned in my parenting over the years is that expressions of love and discipline must have the proper balance. When my oldest three were young I leaned too strongly in the direction of authoritarianism. By the time they were teens they knew how to obey quickly and without question, but I had only a weak connection with their hearts. My wife and I found ourselves losing our ability to influence their values. We could lay down rules and require them to obey, but that only conformed the outside.
Fortunately, the Lord helped us discover how to connect with their hearts and regain influence through "relationship." We are raising our younger three with the lessons we learned from our older three, and are watching them grow up delightfully different. Those lessons we learned I now include in several of my series such as EFFECTIVE PARENTING OF TEENS, THE DELIGHTFUL FAMILY, and BEYOND OBEDIENCE, as well as my wife's tape LOVING AND TEACHING THE DIFFICULT CHILD.
Bob: How do you think God is going to use children who have been homeschooled in 20 years?
Reb: Statistics already bear out that homeschool children grow up to be student leaders in their colleges. I expect we will continue to see them take leadership in the Christian community, as well as in society. However, if homeschooling only produces independent thinking and leadership, it has done nothing for God's kingdom. Our children, whether they are schooled at home or in the traditional classroom, must be raised to love God above all else. They must be raised to love and serve others (starting with family members) from the time they are young.
If we raise children to be academically superior, and teach them to be so obedient that they can sit as still as frozen fish sticks through a 5-hour plane trip, it is absolutely and totally meaningless if they do not love others. I pray all parents understand in their own lives the absolute necessity to love the needy, as well as their enemies, and then teach it to their children. It is through our love for one another, and for a dark and dying world, that we will influence for eternity those around us.
Bob: If you could tell every father in America one thing, what would it be?
Reb: Wake up and be a leader your family can follow and under whom your family can find shelter. Understand that headship is not an excuse for dominance and oppression. It is not an excuse for hiding out in the garage or living on the computer. For the first seven years of my marriage my wife was begging me to take over the helm of our ship, but I didn't know what she was talking about. I was not really like the captain of a vessel – more like an oldest son, but with veto power.
My wife shouldered responsibility for the home and family, and teetered under the weight of all the care and concern. I thought she was just excessively female with all her emotional outbursts, but the Lord finally showed me that she was stressing out because she was carrying my load and hers. It was my job to change the oil and mow the lawn, but she was the one who had to remember when they needed to be done. Because I had dropped the ball of true leadership, she had picked it up, but could not handle the load.
I finally discovered that I needed to be like a corporate manager who assumed such responsibility for his department that he would go home at night but still carry the weight of the department production. As it was, it was my wife who was always thinking about the children, their health, our finances, the home, our future, etc. I gave little thought to those things because she did such a good job with them. But I had to learn that a wife is not a co-head, whom God intends to co-shoulder the load. She is a helpmeet who should go to bed at night like a department secretary, without a care in the world, because she knows her husband has assumed responsibility for, and is giving great thought to, oversight of the family. I have more on this in my tape set FATHERS: SAVING THE NEXT GENERATION.
Bob: Over the years, I have appreciated receiving the knowledge and understanding that Reb has given me and my family. I'm sure their books and tapes will bless you as well.
To contact Lifetime Books and Gifts visit their Website at http://www.lifetimebooksandgifts.com/
To subscribe to this newsletter, send a blank e-mail to LifetimeTreasuresemail@example.com
To view past newsletters, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LifetimeTreasures/messages