all about jesus

How can Christian parents and grandparents hope to disciple their children amid the struggles of everyday life? Even more, how can we use these often chaotic moments as golden opportunities to lead them to Jesus?

On today’s episode of the Great Stories podcast, Charles Morris and David Wollen are joined by Christian parents, including David’s wife, Marci, who share their own unique approaches to raising children to know and love Jesus. Later in the episode, Charles Morris goes on to discuss the tender subject of what to do when your child walks away from the faith.

On this episode, you’ll also hear from two members of the Haven Team. Tamara Chamberlain is an author, podcaster, and mother of three children with her husband, Dale. She also serves as Haven’s director of project management. Troy Lamberth is a filmmaker, podcaster, pastor, co-founder of Five Solas Media, and father of three children with his wife, Melissa. He also serves as Haven’s executive producer.


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War between Israel and Hamas have dominated the headlines for months. And yet news about what Christ is doing, even in the midst of great suffering and conflict, is often overlooked. Here to talk about it, as well as how modern Jews are discovering Christ in Old Testament Scriptures, is the Executive Director of Jews for Jesus, David Brickner.

Three months have now passed since Hamas invaded Israel, sparking a war that continues to rage on today. Following that initial attack, Haven listeners responded by sending more than $200,000 directly to Israel to provide help and hope through Jews for Jesus. On today’s episode, David Brickner will also offer updates from the field on how this support has been used to feed Israelis — both physically and spiritually.

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Christmas is usually a time when we look back on stories of ages past. Think of classic tales like A Christmas Carol or The Night Before Christmas or even It’s a Wonderful Life. But what about some extraordinary stories that we don’t often get to hear — modern Christmas stories from ordinary people, like you and me, that help us see Christ in Christmas.

That’s what this episode of the Great Stories Podcast is all about. These “Christmas Nuggets” (as Charles has been calling them) whisper the name of someone you and I both know and love and talk about this time of year … a hint, his name isn’t Santa Claus.

As you anticipate Christ this Christmas, it is our prayer that these conversations will be just what you need to hear at Christmas, ultimately reminding you of your Savior and what he came to do on that first Christmas.


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It’s the nightmare call every parent fears. For Charles and Janet Morris, the news of their son’s death came on a late Summer night in 2003. Nearly five years later, they sat down to speak with friend and counselor Dr. Dan Allender for a public discussion of their son’s overdose, the courage they’ve found in the intervening years, and the understanding they’ve gained that Jesus rescued their son — even through death.

Now twenty years after the incident, we are sharing this vulnerable conversation that has been a profound resource for so many who have also been touched by similar tragedy and grief. Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one or not, we pray this episode from the Haven archives will bring you hope.


More from Charles & Janet Morris

  • All week on Haven Today, we are revisiting content related to the struggles of grief, loss, and drug addiction — all pointing to Jesus. Listen in to hear Charles’ appearance on the air the day after his son died, as well as more from other parents relating their own unique situations.
  • The book Saving a Life by Charles and Janet Morris goes into greater detail the process they went through following Jeff’s overdose. You can get your copy here.
  • Charles and Janet’s other son also went down the path of substance abuse. This is his story of addiction and redemption.
  • Listen in to another conversation between a father and son overcoming addiction.

You can also find the podcast on …

If you liked what you heard, please write a review and help new listeners discover the show!

Sign up for the Great Stories Podcast newsletter to get a weekly update on new episodes each Wednesday. 

With a reach of over 500,000 people a day, it’s often hard to visualize who is listening. We want you to meet Louise Farmer, a listener and supporter of Haven Ministries. Just like you, her partnership helps provide hope to a troubled world.

As you think about how Haven has blessed you over the past twelve months, will you consider making your year end gift before December 31?


2022 Year End Gift to HavenYour Year End Gift to Haven

Since 1934, Haven Ministries has existed to be exactly what our name suggests — a Christ-focused refuge that offers hope for a troubled world. With conflict and uncertainty raging high in our world, what we really need is the hope of Jesus.

Today, we are asking friends of Haven Ministries to help us fulfill this mission by raising $745,127 by the end of the year. Will you give now to help us finish strong?

Your partnership today allows Haven to be a beacon of hope for hundreds of thousands of people. Thank you so much for your generosity to provide . . .

  • Hope by radio over 650+ stations in North America
  • Hope in the hands of 14,000 devotional readers
  • Hope throughout Cuba and the Spanish speaking world

If you’ve been looking for a way for the children around you to memorize and even understand the Bible this Christmas, you don’t have to look any longer. Randall Goodgame, the singer-songwriter behind Slugs & Bugs, has come out with a Christmas album that’s totally based on God’s Word.

This album tells the truth of Scripture in a way that helps it stick in young hearts. With music inspired by “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” these songs were created so the truths of the Bible can resonate in young hearts, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work on the hearts of parents and grandparents, as well.

Here are a few songs from Randall Goodgame’s Sing the Bible Family Christmas that will help you and the kids in your life get in the Christ-centered Christmas spirit this year:

 

John 1:1-4, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

Luke 1:46-48

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;”

 
 

STBC-productSing the Bible Family Christmas

To have this album for the Christmas season, don’t hesitate to request your copy when you make a gift to Haven Today and we’ll send you Sing the Bible Family Christmas as our “thank you” for your generosity to this listener-supported ministry. Randall Goodgame created this album so that each word-for-word Scripture song would celebrate the miracles of all miracles: the coming of Jesus. When you follow the link below, you’ll get the chance to listen to samples of other songs on the album, such as “When the Fullness of Time had Come,” “Zechariah’s Prophecy,” “I Heard the Bells,” and more.

request-your-copy-today-400

 
 

Have you ever wondered how Good Friday got its name? You would think the day we set aside to remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross would get a less cheerful designation, but I believe there’s a good reason why Good Friday’s name continues to stand the test of time.

Many scholars point to the fact that “good” used to have a definition much closer to that of “holy,” but the original meaning doesn’t translate very well in today’s English vocabulary. So why don’t we change the name?

Ultimately, it’s because everything that happened on the first Good Friday showed the full extent of Jesus’ love for us.

John’s Gospel begins like Genesis 1 and ends with a hint at what would come in Revelation. It’s a mini-Bible in one Gospel with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who appears in the first chapter to invite his disciples to “come and see.” Those are words of invitation—not only to them but to us. Jesus wants us to “come and see” who he is, to see his love, and to see how far that love will lead him.

Everything Jesus did was an act of love, but it was all leading up to the day of his death when he would demonstrate the full extent of his love.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. — John 13:1

The Goodness of Good Friday

Good Friday is good in spite of the brutality of Jesus’ death on the cross. It’s good in spite of the betrayal of Judas and the cowardly desertion of his disciples. It’s good in spite of the miscarriage of justice, the corruption of the Jewish leaders and the practical self-serving decision of Pontius Pilate.

Jesus is what’s good about Good Friday. He showed us that his love has no limits, and that his love is determined to break down all barriers between him and us.

When the Roman soldiers and temple guards came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he immediately identified himself as the one they were looking for and said, “Since I am the one you want, let these others go.” Even as Simon Peter drew a sword to keep them from taking his Lord away, Jesus said, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:3-11)

It’s clear that Jesus wasn’t taken by force; He gave himself intentionally. Like he told Peter to sheath his sword, Jesus sheathed his own power and refused to save himself. We must never make the mistake of thinking Jesus was taken by force. He could have destroyed all those who came to arrest him, but he didn’t.  And as he allowed himself to be arrested, his only terms were that his disciples would be allowed to go free.

“Since I am the one you want, let these men go.”

Do you hear his love in those words? This picture of love and mercy toward his disciples is a powerful image of the same love he demonstrates for us on the cross. Jesus loves us more than he loves himself. He gives himself so we can be spared, and he surrenders himself so that we can we can be released from sin and restored to our Father.

From the Garden he goes to the high priest and then to Pontius Pilate before being turned over to the soldiers.

“The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying,  “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face. — John 19:2-3

Even in moments of humiliation and suffering, Jesus is majestic in his love. As he emerged into the view of the crowd wearing his a purple robe and crown of thorns, he silently endured the the chief priests and their officials chanting, “Crucify! Crucify!” (John 19:6)

He’s awesome in this moment of humiliation because he’s doing it voluntarily. Jesus said the Good Shepherd would die to protect his sheep, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. We’re helpless to protect ourselves from the evil one, but when our Shepherd King goes to his death he throws himself in front of us and protects us. He does it because he loves us more than he loves himself.

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

And this is it, this is the full extent of his love:

“So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others — one on each side and Jesus in the middle.— John 19:17-18

What do we do with a love like this?

We hear from a lot of listeners and readers who wonder if God loves them. They’re looking for evidence of his love in their own circumstances. But when we do that, we’re looking in the wrong place—Jesus demonstrates his love for me and for you personally on the cross. He died for YOU. Take it personally. Take it the way Paul did in Galatians 2:20 where he said, “I live by faith in the one who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Rose Marie Miller is a good friend of mine who who heard the message of the cross many times but never took it personally for herself. The wife of a pastor, she knew the gospel backwards and forwards, but it never got past the surface of her heart. She worked hard, she tried her best, and she couldn’t really see her need for this sacrifice. And if you don’t see that you’re a sinner, then you won’t be able to see the love of Jesus. Sadly, that was Rose Marie.

Until one Sunday, as she was sitting in a worship service half-listening to her husband preach, it came time for communion. Her husband raised the loaf of french bread and broke it with a loud crack saying, “This is my body broken for you.” And at that moment, she finally saw it—the spear of the soldiers was piercing and breaking the Body of Christ for her sins. Jesus was suffering this terrible death for her sins. She took it personally—Jesus died for me. Later she would say, “It was like a fire entered my heart, burning away at my intense self-centered moralism.”

The love of Jesus is meant to break our hearts. We look at the cross and we see our sin and the punishment our sins deserve. Whether they are flagrant sins of the flesh or the hard-hearted, self-righteous sins of a Pharisee, Jesus is there in our place, taking on the consequences of our sins and dying so that we can be spared.

The cross humbles us and captures us and binds us to Jesus. That’s what it’s meant to do. And that is what’s so good about Good Friday.

About the Author

As the leader of the Haven Ministries, Charles Morris is always thinking of ways to lead Christians and non-Christians to Christ—hence the familiar slogan, “Telling the great story … it’s all about Jesus.” A former secular journalist, Charles has worked for United Press International, and as a press secretary for two former U.S. senators. He and his wife, Janet, have authored several books, including Missing Jesus. Charles’ latest book is Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus: The Real Story of God At Work.

Most of the thoughts above are taken from broadcasts of Haven Today. Corum Hughes serves as the editor of this blog and coordinator for Haven’s digital content. A graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Corum lives in Boise, ID with his wife Molly.