Charles Morris

Where is Jesus when you need Him most? Whether it’s a chronic condition or a tragic accident, even believers find themselves ill-equipped to handle the myriad of afflictions that often catch us by surprise. That’s why it’s so important to learn now from those who have come before us, people like Joni Eareckson Tada who discovered just how essential it is to practice daily closeness with Christ.

“Suffering has a way of heaving you beyond the shallows of life where your faith tends to feel ankle-deep. It casts you out into the fathomless depths of God, a place where Jesus is the only One who can touch bottom.” —Joni Eareckson Tada, The Practice of the Presence of Jesus

In this conversation with Charles Morris and David Wollen, Joni discusses the many ways she experiences the presence of Jesus in her own daily life—even when overwhelmed with pain and fatigue. Whatever you may be going through right now, we pray this conversation will help you discover new ways to experience Christ daily, even when He seems far away.

More from Joni Eareckson Tada

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What does it mean to practice the presence of God? Rather than relying on “cafeteria-style spirituality,” Joni Eareckson Tada reminds us that God shares His joy on His terms—and His terms call for us to, in some measure, suffer like Jesus.

In fact, Joni goes on to describe how Christians too often want to numb or run away from pain and discomfort. But if we want to get to know this “man of sorrows,” God wants us to feel our own afflictions deeply.

Listen in to the full Haven Today radio series featuring Joni’s full interview to hear more about practicing the presence of Jesus.

The Practice of the Presence of Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada

Daily Meditations on the Nearness of Our Savior

Discover the joy of intentionally dwelling in the presence of God as Joni Eareckson Tada weaves contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence.

“Suffering has a way of heaving you beyond the shallows of life where your faith feels ankle-deep. It casts you out into the fathomless depths of God.” — Joni, from the Introduction

The Practice of the Presence of Jesus ushers in wisdom from two everyday saints—Joni and Brother Lawrence—to teach and inspire you to experience the nearness of God in your life. Through rich devotional content from Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God, accompanied by original art and never-before-published insights from Joni, you’ll experience a unique blend of past and present wisdom on such themes as humility, thankfulness, fear, worship, obedience, and more. Each devotion ushers you into the peace of the Good Shepherd.

This month, Haven Ministries announced its biggest leadership transition in 25 years with Charles Morris “going emeritus” and David Wollen taking up the torch as the fifth president and host in this ministry’s 90 year history. On today’s episode of the Great Stories Podcast, you’ll get to hear a recent conversation they had while taking listener questions over ZOOM.

Recorded live on January 17, 2024, this captivating event provided a unique opportunity for Haven’s community to delve into David Wollen’s passion for ministry, his deep connection with Haven, and his fervent desire to keep sharing the great story that is all about Jesus.


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All good things must come to an end. But in Christ, there are always new beginnings. On today’s episode of the Great Stories Podcast, Charles Morris introduces Haven Today’s new speaker and president, David Wollen.

It’s been almost 25 years now since Charles became the fourth speaker of Haven Today, and as he “goes emeritus,” Charles will still co-host the program with David for a short season. So, join them for a great discussion about Haven’s past, present, and future, and learn more about the work of Christ in David’s life.

More about David Wollen

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Almost twenty-five years ago, I was entrusted with the ministry of Haven. I knew that one day I would be passing the torch of this 90-year-old ministry to someone else. What I did not know is that this person would be a good friend of mine.

With great excitement and joy, I announce this year I will shift into an emeritus role and welcome David Wollen as the president and future host of Haven Today.

If you listened to the on-air announcement on Haven Today, then you’ve already heard the news. Either way, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about my longtime friend who will be ushering this ministry into a new era. For more information on how this transition will take place over the coming months, click here.

I first met David and his soon-to-be wife, Marci, at a Christmas concert at Biola University. We were complete strangers, or so I thought. During intermission, we struck up a conversation. I realized that I was close friends with the man who would soon be his father-in-law. Our paths crossed again two years later as I was seeking an assistant. I wasn’t just looking for someone to merely handle administrative tasks but also someone with a diverse skill set, leadership potential, and who deeply resonated with the vision that this ministry is all about Jesus. David was the perfect fit. One year in, he became our COO.

Not only did David and I become fast friends, but so did our families.

Charles Morris and David Wollen through the years

I remember how Janet and I prayed with David and Marci for their first child, which the Lord delayed for a long season. What a joy it was for me to be there for their daughter’s first birthday and see her smashing a cupcake into her face with so much glee! What a reminder of answered prayer.

Over the years we enjoyed hikes, picnics, and spiritual retreats. We’ve prayed together, celebrated together, and even mourned together. I count it true joy to call David Wollen my brother in Christ and friend.

The idea of one day passing the torch used to make me nervous. I didn’t know who would become the fifth speaker of Haven Ministries. I prayed for God to bring about the perfect person in His timing. That is exactly what He did.

I can attest to David’s experience and knowledge as someone who teaches the Word of God, his desire to serve others in his leadership, and his eagerness to know Christ more. Even his most recent experience in international missions will be valuable as he returns to Haven. But in knowing David, I have been most encouraged by his daily dependence on Jesus.

When you tune in to Haven Today this month, you will continue to hear my voice alongside David’s. As time progresses, I will dial back my presence in the program while continuing to serve in a support role. I look forward to seeing how God will use this 90-year-old ministry in the years to come.

About the Author

Charles Morris served as Haven’s host and president from 1999 through 2023, and is still actively serving in an emeritus role on the air and in leadership.

Charles now lives in Washington with his wife, Janet. Together, they wrote Saving a Life, Jesus in the Midst of Success, and Missing Jesus. They have three children and are the proud grandparents of Charlotte, Gracie, Ricky, Charlie, and Cosette. In 2017, Morris collaborated with New York Times bestselling author Craig Borlase and wrote Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus which chronicles the stories of Christians in the Middle East today.

Christmas is a time for us to celebrate Immanuel: God with us. But this isn’t limited to a single event in history — because Jesus didn’t just make a one-time visit to Earth. The first Christmas also looks forward to that final day when he will come again and make all things new.

On today’s episode of the Great Stories podcast, Charles Morris returns to a Christmas special from 2018 where he spends time helping us visualize the full scope of the incarnation — God with us then, God with us now, and God with us in the time to come. He’ll also be joined by special guests Nancy Guthrie and Rosaria Butterfield to take discuss the the classic Christmas Carol Joy to the World, as well as the importance of hospitality at Christmastime.

As you prepare your heart to celebrate the Messiah this Christmas, it is our prayer that we all will take the time to meaningfully celebrate Christ’s birth while also looking forward to when Christmas comes again.

More from Haven at Christmas

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More than 100 people have died in Maui from the most devastating U.S. wildfire in the last century. A once thriving village is reduced to ashes, leaving many more residents homeless. For some, this might conjure biblical imagery. And there may be no figure in Scripture who relates to that more than the prophet Jeremiah.

It’s not very common to see a grown man cry in today’s culture, but there are experiences in life that just bring us to tears — no matter how tough you are. Known as “The Weeping Prophet,” much of the book of Jeremiah can be like that.

But why would we want to open up a book that is about shedding tears? Shouldn’t we focus on joy?

Jeremiah, Rembrandt

I have often found that in the midst of our darkest moments, brighter beams of hope also shine through. That’s what we find in Jeremiah. In the darkest moments, for Israel, God sent a way of escape, promising new life and new hope, and proving that sadness and sorrow will not have the last word.

The famous Dutch painter Rembrandt has a portrait of the great prophet Jeremiah leaning to one side, resting sorrowfully on his left arm and looking forlorn. Rembrandt is notorious for capturing the encroaching darkness around the outsides of his portraits, along with brighter yellowish light fixed in the center.

That’s the first thing to learn when approaching the book of Jeremiah: the reality of the darkness around the edges. Sometimes, we ignore the darkness and also miss the bright hope and light that breaks through. It ultimately centers on the hope that centers on God always showing up.

That leads us to one of the first lessons the prophet teaches us.

Lesson 1: Remember Our First Love!

After the prophet’s call from God, Jeremiah’s opening scene is a vivid memory. The Lord is remembering Israel as his bride:

“I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness.” Jeremiah 2:2

How the Lord loved this brand new nation, brought up out of Egypt. And Israel loved him back with undivided devotion! If you have known the Lord for a few years, remember back with me what it was like to first know the Lord. Reading Scripture would have been like reading daily love letters!

H. A. Ironside — the late pastor and evangelist at Moody Church — in his commentary on Jeremiah remembers the beauty of the first love we have for our savior.

“How much (The Lord) was to us then!” Ironside writes “What a poor thing this world seemed with all its glittering baubles! How gladly we turned from everything we had once delighted in to go out after Himself revealed in Jesus!” I think of Revelation 2 that calls us as Christians to “remember our first love!”

But we need these reminders, Israel needed these reminders. Too often, we forget God’s love. We turn away to other loves and look for joy in forbidden places.

In Jeremiah’s day, one of the daily threats was starvation. Food in the ancient world was always in short supply. Nowadays we can run out to a supermarket and never lack breads, meats, and every kind of food to choose rom. If there is a drought, like the farmers in Central California have experienced in recent years, it may drive up the cost of our food, but we almost never run out.

But in the ancient world, in Jeremiah’s world, hunger was an all-too-frequent friend. And when hunger strikes people will do anything to get food.

Which leads us to our second lesson: when we are desperate, we often turn to other sources of love to provide for us.

Lesson 2: Sin Separates Us from God

Sin. It’s not a popular word. But it is the word the Bible uses for straying and missing the mark of what the Lord commands. He calls his bride to have undivided devotion to him, but so frequently we go our own way.

In Jeremiah’s day there was no water. On a diet of bread and fruit, the staples of Israel, no water meant no food. No food meant famine. And famine meant hunger.

The Lord describes the desperation that his young bride had when she wandered away from him like this.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

Picture pouring water into the top of a cup, the only problem is there is a shattered hole on the bottom of the cup and everything you pour into it just comes flowing out the bottom. This is what trusting foreign gods is like.

Israel had stored up her life in the wrong place. She believed that these foreign gods would protect her, she believed an allegiance to them would save her. But they betrayed her and she was left alone, deceived, and forgotten.

Have you felt like that? You put all your hope in a relationship, in a business, even in a child, and they let you down. Israel stored her life in cisterns, broken cisterns, and it all flowed away.

This is the darkness I mentioned above. Sometimes the darkness and hopelessness in our life is caused by others; we are betrayed by a person we thought was our friend, or our a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. But, sometimes the only person to blame is me, and whatever the case may be, there is only one way back to the Lord.

We must cry out for deliverance. “Save us, O Lord! Save us.” Jeremiah 31, which in many ways is the very heart of the book, has a cry very much like this.

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning. You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God.” Jeremiah 31:18

The Bride of the Lord who had given herself to foreign gods and was now left alone and betrayed, comes back to him with only one hope, “You are the Lord my God.”

Then finally, I want to point you to Jeremiah’s third lesson of the Lord’s response. How does the Lord react when he hears us come back to him alone and needy?

Lesson 3: “I still remember you”

Remembering – all throughout the Bible – refers to an intimate knowledge of someone. Not as much like remembering something mundane, but more like remembering a beautiful day with the person you love.

C. S. Lewis, in his first work of science-fiction called “Out of the Silent Planet” wrote, “a pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.” This is the way the Bible uses the word, remembrance. It is savoring and enjoying an experience that has changed you and you will never be the same again. It is a memory full grown and enjoyed.

This is the way the Lord responds when he hears the cry of his son.

“Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 31:20

The Lord extends these words to everyone who cries to him for mercy. Is not Ephraim my dear son?
I can’t help but think of the story of another young son, also captured in a famous Rembrandt painting, who wasn’t sure if his father would remember him.

Prodigal Son, RembrandtThis young son had grown up with all the joys and privileges of belonging to a father who loved him. But in his adolescence he hardened his heart and asked for all the inheritance from his father in advance. The father divided his possessions and gave them away to his loved son. Then the son ran away to a far off land.

The story tells us that there was a famine in that land; everyone was experiencing the pain of hunger. It may seem like a coincidence that the son running away from this father ended up in this famine. But I don’t think so. I think the Lord of this story is reminding us in the famous story of the prodigal son of the many times when Israel ran away from him and ended up in famine.

But now do you recall what the son said to himself? “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!” The first acknowledgement of the son is that the father’s house is the only place where he can find life. “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”

But the question for our passage in Jeremiah 31 is, “will the Father remember him?” Will the father take him back? Now the story of the prodigal son switches camera angles and we are placed back in the position of a father left only with one son. While the younger son is still far away, the father might have to squint to see him, something about this stranger, something about the way he walks, something about this person far, far away prompts the father to jump to his feet. He doesn’t wait for his son! He doesn’t walk towards his son. He doesn’t even slowly jog to him. He runs!

The Father runs. And the story gives us one simple reason. “He was filled with compassion.” He throws his hands around him and kisses him. What a lavish way of loving a son who had taken everything from him! What a divine love this is that shows only mercy and kindness to one who had betrayed him.

You see, the reason the Father could love his son like this is because of a New Covenant he had promised to make, all the way back in Jeremiah 31. This covenant says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

How is this new covenant sealed? What is the guarantee of this new covenant? Israel, or in Jeremiah 31, Ephraim is described as God’s son. In the famous parable of the prodigal son we have another father son relationship. But they are all pictures and point to THE Father-Son relationship that changed history. Jesus raised a cup with his disciples one dark night and said, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood.”

Jesus, who was the son who always obeyed the Father, was given over to death for our sins, for those which had separated us from God. Our sinfulness really is so bad that the eternal Son of God had to be nailed to a cross for us. But the covenant that his blood seals is an everlasting covenant, and it promises that God will always remember — this special word of love and relationship — he will always remember his people.

This is the hope that shines in our darkness. Though sorrows and sadness seem to reign in this life, this is the bright hope that shines, even on the pages of Jeremiah and in Maui after a devastating wild fire. It is the hope we need today.


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.

As Charles Morris takes a walk with his dog, Clementine, he’s reminded of what it means to have a servant’s heart.

So many friends of Haven Ministries have had a servant’s heart in the last year by providing help and hope in Ukraine and Cuba. Will you extend that same heart to Haven this month as we end our fiscal year on June 30?

Make Your Fiscal Year End Gift

When Covid broke out, Haven ministered about faith, not fear. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Haven reported from the border to provide aid in the form of food and Bibles. And when you need hope during your own personal storms in life, Haven is there every day with messages and interviews to help you behold and follow Jesus. This is all possible thanks to friends like you.

For nearly nine decades, Haven Ministries has helped countless listeners, readers, unbelievers, believers, and everyone in between find their hope in Christ as they face life’s storms. Will you help us continue this vital ministry in the months to come?

June 30 marks the end of Haven’s fiscal year and we need $698,628 to finish the year with no red ink. Would you prayerfully help Haven with a gift at this most critical moment?

Born in Miami shortly after his parents fled Cuba during Fidel Castro’s revolution, Danny Rojas is a Christ follower with a heart for the Cuban Church. Today, he is now the director and speaker of Haven’s Spanish broadcast to Cuba El Faro de Redención.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Danny became the head of this ministry, as well as how he saw Christ on the move in Cuba during his very first trip to the island last week.

Danny Rojas has been serving in pastoral and music ministry for over 25 years. His wife Luann is also from Miami and of Dominican descent. Danny earned a Master of Theological Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently working on a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Theology. He serves his local church as an elder and worship leader. His passion and heart for El Faro de Redención is to share Christ-centered, grace-focused content along with the voice of the Cuban church, so that many in Cuba, as well as across the Spanish-speaking world, will find life and rest in Christ.

More on Haven’s Cuba Broadcast

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The Christmas season is here. Whether you’re planning your family get-together, buying gifts, or simply reflecting on Christ’s incarnation, there is no doubt we are in a season of anticipation. And one of the best ways to help us get in the spirit of anticipating the Messiah every year is through the music of Christmas.

This is what Charles Morris and singer-songwriter Fernando Ortega talk about in a new interview. In this episode of the Great Stories podcast, you’ll hear about the significance behind some powerful Christmas songs, what Christmas was like for Fernando growing up in New Mexico, and what it is about the advent season that so powerfully draws us nearer to Christ. You’ll also hear some segments from Fernando’s Christmas Songs album.

We pray this conversation will help you prepare your heart for the Messiah this Christmas.

More from Fernando Ortega

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