Charles Morris Looks Back on 25 Years of Ministry

With a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other, Charles Morris has shared the great story that’s all about Jesus for a quarter century. Today he crosses the finish line. Though he will return as a guest on the program in the future, Charles is now stepping away from daily production … but not before sharing a few memories and prayers.

In honor of these 25 years, we asked Charles a few questions about his time as Havens’ fourth president & speaker, the people he met, the moments he saw Christ move, and the prayers he has for the ministry’s future.

You’ve interviewed many people over the years. Sometimes we reshare those interviews on the air. But there are a few that have unfortunately been lost to time. Can you share about an interview you did that you wish we could unearth?

Two interviews stand out in particular that we lost in our archives due to moving our office when we sold the old Maranatha music studios and moved to another part of greater Los Angeles. One was an interview with the famous Chuck Smith, who founded Calvary Chapel and took part in the Jesus Revolution movement. I used to have lunch with him when our office was a few blocks from his church. On the program, he shared his life story. We even had him sing.

The other one was when I had first come to Haven. I was speaking — the Haven of Rest Quartet was with me — in Pennsylvania. And this man shared his story about how someone broke into his house late one night. I don’t remember the whole story, but it was a robbery. The intruder wielded a hatchet and as the man tried to defend himself and his wife against this home invasion. He was struck in the head with this hatchet and he almost died. And it left him with recurring headaches. He had to take disability. The lingering effects meant he couldn’t work anymore.

But the highlight of this story that we lost in our archives was that he decided to ask himself, “What would Jesus do?” He went to the prison and shared the gospel with the very man who tried to kill him and led him to faith in Christ. When the man was released, they took him in and ministered to him.

What a sweet, sweet story of grace. A sweet story of repentance and forgiveness. The gospel works in the most unlikely of circumstances. The gospel still works today.

Is there a guest you always wanted to have on the program but it never seemed to pan out?

Charles Morris with a typewriter

Charles Morris in his twenties, working as a state capitol correspondent in Missouri.

I interviewed Billy Graham as a secular journalist, but I was never able to interview Billy after coming to Haven and that’s something I wish I could have done as a Christian pastor on the radio. I did interview George Beverly Shea for Haven, but Billy was unable to do interviews at that point.

But I did spend half an hour with him doing an interview as a secular journalist. Even though I was a believer, it was a totally different context. But to his credit, he still shared the Lord in a secular interview.

A lot of our listeners express how great it would be to meet so many Christian authors, pastors, and artists. Is there a moment in your 25 years where you met a personal hero?

I think there were heroes of mine that I really warmed up to, that were either theologians or preachers. One that comes to mind was the late John Stott who pastored a famous church in London, close to Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth asked the current king as a young man to go and learn more about the Christian faith from John Stott. And every time Billy Graham would pass through London, he tried to make sure he was there on a Sunday so he could hear John Stott preach.

The last interview John Stott ever gave was with Haven Today when he was speaking in Santa Barbara California. And one topic that did not go on the program was I asked him about hobbies. He was famous as a birdwatcher, a twitcher. And he even wrote a book about God’s creation and being a twitcher.

Another one, since I’m thinking in twos, the other one would be the times that we put on a well known pastor in New York City, Tim Keller, who’s also now with the Lord. We first knew him in Philadelphia.

We had him on a number of times, but probably the most significant time was on 9/11. I was on the road speaking and I gave four questions along with Tim and Kathy’s private, unlisted phone number to team member Robert Jacobson. And I said to Robert, “Just keep dialing over and over again.” Finally, Tim picked up the phone.

This was the only interview that Tim did with anyone that day. He thought at this point he had lost 2,000 from his congregation in the World Trade Towers. Thankfully, he didn’t lose that many, but it still ended up being a few hundred. And that crisis led to a period of depression for Tim and his wife, but he still had to lead — he still had to pastor his flock. He still had to minister Christ to people who were hurting after 9/11 in New York City.

You often get to meet listeners when traveling who get the chance to tell you what Haven has meant to them. Is there a moment like this that sticks out in your mind?

One was a young Mennonite lad about 15 years old in Pennsylvania. His family drove a couple of hours to where we were holding an event. He had recently met the Lord listening to Haven Today, and they wanted to bring their son and the rest of their family to just say thank you. His voice hadn’t quite changed yet at 15 years old. And that was just encouraging to see that the Lord would use us, you know, and use the program to lead people to Christ.

And then back to 9/11, this couple heard the program whose son worked in the World Trade Center. And they tried repeatedly and couldn’t reach him. They had just heard our program, and a couple weeks before they were in New York City and had gone to church with their son who had just graduated a few months before from Wheaton College. And the pastor they heard preach was Tim Keller.

So, roll ahead about five years later, I was staying at a Christian retreat center in Michigan. The head of the ministry said there’s a couple I want you to meet. They run our retreat center. They used to run a bed and breakfast, but now they’re with us.

It was the same couple who had lost their son and they had just received some of the fragments of their son’s body. We sat there in this large kitchen and wept together. Their son knew the Lord, but he lost his life in the World Trade Center on 9/11. And somehow they just happened to listen to our radio program five years before and hear their son’s pastor on the air. I’ve visited them since. I saw them a couple years ago when I was in Michigan. I stopped and had a memorable lunch with them.

You’ve gotten to see Christ move in many places. Would you mind sharing a story from your far flung travels that showed you how God was at work in surprising ways?

Some of the trips into Iraq come to mind. ISIS was bearing down and I was in this city of 100,000 that was empty — an historic, ancient Christian city. And I’m very thankful for an Iraqi soldier.

I was doing a live interview over the phone and ISIS had used this church courtyard for target practice. And I was doing this interview there on my cell phone on a talk show back in the United States. I started to step into a room and all of a sudden this soldier grabs me by the back of my collar and yanks me out. There was an unexploded IED in that room that had not been disabled and I was one step away from hitting the trip wire. It would have been on live radio in Los Angeles had that happened.

But the interesting thing was every time I go into a part of the world where Christianity was birthed, but now is such a minority. I always meet new believers. It’s in the last 20 years that more Muslims have come to faith in Christ than the last 1400 years combined. And that kept increasing even faster as ISIS tried to grow its caliphate.

But the people I would meet, through Spirit-inspired moments, often had an encounter with Jesus in a vision or a dream. And then somehow, in a part of the world where there aren’t Bibles, they found a Bible and started reading God’s Word.

I’d say, “I’m a Christian pastor from North America. I’m here doing radio programs to send back home, and they would all say, “I’m a lover of Jesus.” I found that very intriguing. They hadn’t been to Sunday school. They didn’t have church to attend, but they had somehow met the risen Lord. A smile would appear on their faces as they would say, “I’m a lover of Jesus.”

Wow! Doesn’t get better than that. I’m a lover of Jesus, too. And there may have been a language barrier but there wasn’t a faith barrier.

Ukraine was a significant trip too. The Christians we encountered there at the border who were escaping and leaving their husbands behind, not knowing if they would ever see grandparents, husbands, dads again. And then we’d start hearing the stories of how the Lord was using a war and an invasion of a country to bring people to faith. I’ll go to my grave thinking about that.

You’ve been making 26-minute radio programs every weekday for the past 25 years. Now that you’ve gone emeritus, what will a day in the life of Charles Morris start to look like?

Well, I still have projects I’m working on for Haven, primarily the Amazing Grace movie which we’re working on to get out the door. The book is published, but the movie still has to be finished and released.

But, you know, I don’t like the word retirement. It’s hard to get to the point where you’ve worked so many years, so many hours, and just stop. I mean, for many years I’d start at six in the morning, work even more after dinner, and still put in a full day on Saturdays. Three or four more hours Sunday after church, too. Because, as my predecessor the late Ray Ortlund warned me, it’s a freight train that’s always moving. And it’s always moving until you jump off. And I’m jumping off. But I’m not finished yet.

The wonderful thing is we get to serve Christ until the day they die. The Lord will always keep bringing tasks into our lives. Our work on earth is never done until he calls us home. And that’s the joy of following Jesus. That alone is our full time job, whether you’re working and paid to do that or not.

What is your prayer for Haven Ministries now and in the future?

That as technology changes, we will be able to reach more people than ever before.

As I leave, Haven is on more radio stations than we’ve ever been on in the history of the ministry. But there are still people who need to be reached with grace. I pray that we would be able to continue the broadcast with the gospel and reach more people through new technologies that I can’t even envision – to share the risen Christ. The only answer to all problems, to all issues, and to all darkness is Jesus.

What is your prayer for Haven’s many listeners and readers?

I pray to see Christ reign in the lives of more people everywhere. That every day they would hear the words of Jesus, and respond to Jesus speaking to them. For those who don’t know Christ and those who do know Christ, every day may they hear the Savior say, “Come to me … and I’ll give you rest.” Just unpack that from the gospels. That would be my prayer.

Janet and Charles Morris


  • Brentley Scali says:

    Thank you Charles Morris for your dedication to Haven Today throughout the years. I started to listen to Haven Today around 2019 or 2020.
    You became one of my favorite Christian radio broadcasters.
    I will miss you being on Haven Today on a regular basis.
    You had a down to earth way of informing people of the majesty ,wonder, and power of Jesus Christ. You let every one know that you are just like us…in need of a savior. You shared your story and it certainly felt like you are a friend to the listeners.
    So, I would just like to thank you once again. As I am typing this, I have tears in my eyes. I am not good with change. However, I am glad that there is a chance we will hear from you again soon..
    God bless you and yours my brother in Christ.

  • Virginia Muse says:

    Dear Charles Morris,
    I am so grateful that you have been a part of Haven Today ,which I only found out about when I heard your voice on the KRKS radio some 15 years ago? You have strengthened my walk with Christ, encouraged me, and with that tender understanding, joy filled voice, moved me every day to walk closer with my Savior! May God continue to bless you, and fill your days with many more opportunities to serve Him! You have been a daily blessing in my life and I will miss your voice and your words on the radio, but will continue to pray for you and for Haven ministries.!
    Until we meet again, may the Lord bless you and keep you, as you keep on keeping on!
    With love in the Lord,

  • Pearl king says:

    Pastor Charles Morris you will be missed surely by me, and many others around the world listening to you every morning on WDCX 99.5. What a blessing it has been listen to you preach it’s all about Jesus. I was very emotional Friday and Starday April27 when I listen again. God blessings upon you and your family. How great thou Art. To God be all the Glory amen 🙏 🙌

  • Crystal Lynn Chandler says:

    What a gift Haven has been to me for many years. We had no television in the 50s and 60swhen I was growing up, and my mother listened to Haven of Rest regularly–so as a child I listened too. Years later as a mother of 3 who went back to college to become a teacher, I listened on my 45 minute drive to school. Those were pressure packed years and the program ministered, encouraged me as I navigated t motherhood, marraige, and college studies. I especially remember a program series based on the hymn “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” called ” A Beloved Infidel.” broadcast in the early 80s. Even today I can remember how profoundly moved I was.
    There followed many years of a teaching career where I didn’t have opportunity to hear the program partly because of schedule and partly because of the busyness of life. But retirement came in 2009, and I rediscoverd Haven on Moody Radio. What joy it has been to hear your voice Charles, When I have been fearful, overwhelmed, discouraged (because those things come regardless of the stage of life), Haven has been a source of hope and encouragement. I have shared often with many people what a blessing your program is–how well done, how timely, how relevant to today’s issues and needs, how “all about Jesus”!
    By now it has become obvious that I am in my 70s. I will miss you ,Charles, but know that retirement is a blessing and it’s such a rewarding time to serve the Lord. God speed in your next phase of adventures for Jesus!

  • Jim Sanders says:

    Bless you, Charles, for your faithfulness to God’s Word and the Lord you serve so well. No one can know the endless and sleepless hours of preparation required by several daily radio broadcasts. But the Lord knows!
    As a longtime listener, I’m grateful for the impact your insights have had on my life. And now, asking for the God’s blessings to be poured out on you and Janet in the days ahead!

  • Kenneth R. Rice says:

    Hi Charles,
    I just wanted to say Thank You for all of your years of faithfulness to the ministry in which you were called. I started my journey with Christ in April of 2002 and although it took me about a year to find Moody Radio (WCRF) my radio has been tuned to it ever since, and you are the one I heard almost daily on my drive to work. Your programs blessed my heart more times than I can count so again, I say thank you!

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