Haven Today

Who is David Wollen? And how will his faith in Jesus shape the way he approaches this new era of ministry for Haven? In this exclusive Q&A session, Charles Morris provides Haven listeners and supporters with the chance to delve deeper into the heart of Haven’s new president.

Can you share one thing you love about Haven Ministries?

I love that Haven lives up to its name. This ministry is for people (like me) who are longing for Jesus. Amid so much chaos in our world, every day brings a renewed hunger for Him and His Word. Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Originally this ministry called itself The Haven of Rest, and is committed to being “all about Jesus.” These commitments define this ministry, and are precious to me.

Can you share about how you met Jesus personally?

I gave my life to Jesus when I was four years old. I know that sounds a bit young, but I wanted to follow Him, even then, and I’ve never looked back. My parents discipled me. My grandparents did as well. My late grandfather, Lee Moe, was a preacher and a great student of the Bible. I inherited much of his theological library and often read his notes in the margins of his books. There have been so many other influential, godly people throughout the years who have poured into my walk with Jesus. By the way, Charles, I count you among those who have influenced me most.

But having said all that—it’s not because of other people that I follow Jesus. It’s because of Jesus, Himself. He’s met me countless times in my study of the Word and in prayer, especially moments marked by pain and suffering.

David Wollen and Charles Morris recording in the studio

David and Charles recording in the studio

Do you have a “life verse” or favorite verse of Scripture?

That’s a hard one because, in all truth, my favorite verse is the one through which God is speaking to me on any given day. However, if I had to choose, it would be Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This is bold. It ought to stop us in our tracks. The implications for the daily Christian life are profound. I look forward to teaching from this passage on Haven sometime soon.

What does the Wollen family enjoy doing together?

Well, first of all, there are five of us. Marci and I have three kids. Two girls, ages 12 and 10, and a 5-year-old son.

We love to be outside together. We love to cook. In fact, the best date for Marci and me would be to drop off our kids at a friend’s house and come back home to cook ourselves a nice dinner. But the girls are also learning to cook and bake. They have asked for cookbooks for Christmas and birthdays. I love that.

We’re also a musical family. I play the piano almost every day, and sometimes at church on Sunday. My oldest daughter plays the viola. The other plays the violin. And my son sings at the top of his lungs whenever music is present. He may well be more musical than the rest of us put together. Time will tell. And, I thank God for Marci in all this—she loves music, too, and supports the cacophony in our home with so much patience!

Haven's New President David Wollen with wife Marci Wollen in their home

David at home with his wife, Marci

How do you pray the Lord would use Haven in the coming years?

May the Lord have His way with Haven! May His will be done. I pray that first.

But you’re asking about my dreams and convictions for this ministry. I believe God planted His purpose for Haven into our DNA from the beginning of this ministry. There are multiple strands, even in the early era, which were braided into our past and have continued in each era of the ministry. Each strand is precious and indispensable to our future. Here are three:

1. RESTING IN JESUS
Haven is a ministry that comes alongside people who are weary and burdened. The imagery of our namesake hymn says it all: “I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest.” This is what souls are longing for in our chaotic world. The storms of life are constant and we need an Anchor that will hold us fast. There is only one—the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray we will continue to bring people nearer to Him—wherever and however they listen.

2. COMMITMENT TO GLOBAL MISSIONS
Through the years, Haven has been a Great Commission champion and shined a spotlight on what the Lord Jesus is doing all over the world. You continued this legacy by extending Haven’s ministry into China, Iraq, Ukraine, Israel, Haiti, and Cuba. This is also a passion for me, and I’m eager to continue this aspect of Haven.

3. REVIVAL
It’s something only the Spirit of God can do—and has often done throughout history—calling vast numbers of lost people to faith in Jesus in a concentrated moment of time. In the past, God used Haven powerfully to help bring this about in the 1940s leading into the Evangelical Boom of the 1950s. Billy Graham emerged as the most prominent figure of that era, but Haven also took part.

Will the Lord use Haven in a similar way again? It’s in the Lord’s hands. In the meantime, I am praying, “Lord, if it pleases you, would you do this again in my lifetime? Would you use Haven to stoke the fires of revival once again?”

Whatever happens, at Haven, I believe God has called us to walk alongside people, speaking to what’s going on in the world, opening the Word together, and pointing every listener back to Jesus each day. This is the baton you’ve carried so well, Charles. May God give me and the team at Haven the faith to carry that baton and run well in the years to come.


MORE ABOUT DAVID WOLLEN


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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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

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.

Our hearts are heavy.

Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor these are the names that have risen to the forefront of the media exposing the evil that continues to exist in our world today. These are not all of the names we could list, but their murders force us to see change must come. And then, there is David Dorn who was killed protecting a storefront during a recent protest. Just like the unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, David Dorn is not the only police officer who has been killed in the last few months.

This is why our hearts are so heavy.

As a secular journalist now turned radio preacher I struggle with how to respond to these events in light of the gospel. In 2014, I went on the radio to report a similar event in Ferguson, MO. I thought I had fairly covered both sides of the story but then I received this response from a listener:

I pray that you white men would step out of your whiteness just long enough to let your Christian heart be the filter for your comments. Invariably, you seem to assume that the white version is the right and CHRISTIAN version of a situation. How long?

When I read this I was brought to my knees. Lord, could I possibly be a racist? I don’t know if I’m a “racist” but I know I have blind spots. As a believer I need to understand what life is like for someone like Mila Edmondson:

My wife has to beg me (a grown 37-year-old-man) not to go out to Walmart at night, not because she’s afraid of the criminal element, but because she’s afraid of the police element. Because she knows that when the police see me they aren’t going to see … (the) pastor of New City Fellowship Presbyterian church. When they see me, they aren’t going to see Mika Edmondson, PhD in systematic theology. When they see me, what they’re going to see is a black man out late at night. She knows we’re getting stopped at 10 times the rate of everybody else, arrested at 26 times the rate of everybody else, and killed at 5 times the rate of everybody else.

Reading this reminded me again that I have blind spots. I live in a different world than Mika Edmondson and I was deeply grieved for those who live in this reality every day and for my country where such injustice exists.

But it doesn’t mean I have to take sides.

I equally grieve for the police officer who takes on his difficult job every day and puts his life on the line to protect others. I can weep for the officers who are protecting protestors throughout our country and are being shot down in the line of duty.

We don’t have to take sides because it’s the taking of sides, the divides, the hostility, the us-against-them that’s destroying our world. We must stand up for what is right.

We can weep with all those who weep and mourn with all those who mourn and then pray against the enemy of us all — not as last resort, but as the only hope for the world we live in. Only the Lord can wipe away our tears and reconcile us to each other. Every day the headlines prove we can’t do it ourselves. We are defeated again and again.

Only Jesus can heal our deep divides.

Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

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.” Charles is a former secular journalist, who has worked for United Press International, and as a press secretary for two former U.S. senators. He began working in the Christian world after seminary, becoming the fourth speaker of Haven in 2000. He and his wife, Janet, have written several books, including Missing Jesus.

** Partial photo credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com

Founded in 1934, Haven Ministries has always had a simple mission: to tell the world all about Jesus. Today, the daily broadcast—called HAVEN Today—airs on more than 650 stations in North America and around the world with a daily listenership of over 500,000.

Like Paul Myers—Haven’s first speaker—Charles Morris started his career on radio. In this brief intro, Charles tells his story and reveals the origin of Haven’s famous tagline: “Telling the great story … it’s all about Jesus.”

This year, Haven Today celebrates 80 years since its founder, a radio personality, first found Christ and started a program seeking to give its listeners the only rest there is: eternal rest for the here, now, and hereafter. Many of you remember listening to Paul Myers, or the three following speakers of Haven: Paul Evans, Ray Ortlund, and now, Charles Morris. Here we have Peggy Campbell, president of Ambassador, recalling her lifelong story with Haven. 

I still remember the day Jon and I met Charles and Janet Morris. At the time, Charles was being invited to consider joining Haven Today—it’s hard to believe that’s been well over a decade ago!

I have heard my parents recount the story of Haven’s remarkable founding many times—a once well-known radio personality whose life ended up in shambles, coming to Christ in a hotel room with a Gideon’s Bible. A homeless alcoholic, Paul Myers was transformed spiritually—and just a month after his salvation, the Haven of Rest with First Mate Bob was launched.

It was my own privilege to know the two speakers who preceded Charles—our beloved hosts Ray Ortlund and Paul Evans. Their ability to bring inspiration each day, woven between musical selections, made Haven one of the staples of Christian radio. The music of the Haven Quartet filled our home as it did the airwaves for more than seven decades. The artistry of the Quartet and a variety of remarkably talented musicians—men such as Paul Sandberg, Truitt Ford, Steve Ragsdale and others—brought encouragement more times than I could say.

Even the Haven building for many years was memorable—I recall meeting with the ministry in its iconic ship-shaped (literally) building in Los Angeles (sold long ago) … and, of course, the classic ship’s-bell opening that was part of the program for many, many years.

When you arrive at 80 years of history, it seems most appropriate to do some reflecting. And that’s exactly what you’ll be hearing on Haven this week as Charles looks back at God’s grace over eight decades.

At the same time, let me just say that there’s no time like the present either. I’m so glad that Haven hasn’t depended on the past to empower its future. Led by Charles Morris, this ministry that is all about Jesus is continuing to provide vibrant, timely, biblical content every day. Haven Today is just that!

So enjoy reflecting on God’s providence. And then let’s give thanks together that as great as the past has been … we’re looking to a future impact in even greater dimensions!

Want to learn more about Haven’s history? Check out an early film we found of First Mate Bob and the Haven Quartet. And then listen to song clips of the Haven Quartet’s best-selling album: A Cappella