Rarely do spiritual conversations with your child go the way you envision, especially when they are little! This is one I wrote down several years ago when my daughter was three.

“Daddy, don’t let the giant get me.”

“Sweetie, the giant isn’t going to get you. It was just a dream…”

I had already come in to comfort my daughter several times that night, but feeling suddenly inspired I decided to seize the “gospel” moment.

“…and besides sweetheart, Jesus is stronger than giants and everything else that’s scary. He defeated all our enemies on the cross, so when you feel scared, you can pray and ask him for help.”

I quietly congratulated myself on my applied spiritual insight in parenting as I watched my three-year-old process this.

“Daddy, is Jesus going to put me in a boat?”


I floundered for a moment then realized she was remembering the picture of Jesus in the boat with His disciples from her storybook Bible.

“Yes honey, Jesus is always with us. Even in the boat.”

“Will He push me in the boat?”

“Um… Jesus loves the little children, sweetie. I think He’d give you a push.”

“Daddy, is Jesus going to wear a swim suit?”

“Goodnight Elly. Go back to sleep.”

A child’s short attention span and limited comprehension can make these parent-child interactions slightly comical, but I’m convinced the effort is worth it. Sooner or later, ideas will start to stick. The conversations we have today will form a framework for understanding later on.

Any Christian parent who wants to learn to talk naturally with their children about Jesus can start by identifying teachable moments in their daily routine. Over the years, I’ve found the following activities to be golden opportunities for leading children to Christ. It’s hardly exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start.

1. When You Sing Together

Kids love to sing. Shows like Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood revolutionized children’s programming with this insight. So why not be intentional about the music you play and the songs you sing at home and in the car?

I grew up in the 80s listening to Psalty the Singing Song Book. But today there are many more options to choose from. One album that’s recently crossed my desk and has become a fixture in our car stereo came from Adam Wright with The Corner Room in an album called Remember & Proclaim: Scripture Songs for little ones.

I’m constantly amazed at how quickly kids memorize the words to songs. Kind of scary when you think about it. Which is all the more reason to make sure it’s God’s Word they are hiding in their hearts!

2. When You Read Together

Educators keep telling us there is nothing better to prepare kids for future academic success than reading to them when they’re little. Why not take advantage of story time by reading books that will teach your kids about Jesus?

Our girls LOVE The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I don’t know if it’s a common experience for other parents, but after we finish reading a story to them, our girls like to flip back to the beginning and retell it in their own words.

And when we turn out the light, the Bible story we just read is a great place to start our prayer time.

“God, thank you for sending your Son as a baby…”
“Jesus, thank you that even the wind and the waves obey you…”
“Jesus, thank you that you rose from the grave and are alive today…”

3. When You Pray Together

Many Christian families pray before meals and at bedtime. Prayer time is an easy opportunity to teach your children to pray and, in the process, teach them priceless truths about God.

Our three-year-old is now at the point of wanting to pray at meals, but she doesn’t know what to say. So my wife or I will pray and, phrase-by-phrase, she repeats our words. Most days it sounds something like this:

“Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us this food. Thank you for Daddy, and Mommy, and baby Hannah. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for sending Jesus to save us from our sins. Amen.”

4. When Your Child is Scared

Most kids get scared when they wake up in the night. When they call out your name for comfort you have an opportunity to talk to them about “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

  • When they’re afraid of the dark, you can remind them that Jesus is the light of the world and a light for us when we’re in the dark.
  • When they’re afraid of monsters (or giants in my daughter’s case), you can remind them that Jesus is bigger and stronger than anything scary. In fact, everything evil is afraid of Jesus, because they know He’s in charge.
  • When they just want Daddy or Mommy you have a chance to talk to them about God the Father, who loves them even more than Daddy and Mommy do.

Any scenario like this gives you the chance to pray with them and over them!

5. When Your Child Does Something Wrong

Discipline is one of the most stressful aspects of parenting. And our parental reactions when a child does something wrong reveals a lot about our own assumptions.

When I hear myself say, “Why would you do something like that?” or, “I just don’t understand where this behavior is coming from!” it’s an indicator that I’m forgetting the core of the gospel.

According to God’s Word, she’s not inherently good. She knows how to lie, be sneaky, impatient, mean, and more without having to learn it from others. It comes naturally because, like every person on earth, she was born sinful. She’s sinning because she’s a sinner, just like me. (Ephesians 2:3)

Rather than being surprised by our kids’ sin, we should expect it and have a game plan for addressing it with gospel truth. When your child sins it can be a God-ordained moment to talk with them about how much they need Jesus. That only by His death and resurrection can they have God’s forgiveness, the ability to run from sin, and to desire to do what pleases Him.

6. When Your Child is Wronged by Someone Else

Much of our parental energy in discipline goes into addressing the sinful behavior of the offending child, but we also have an opportunity with the child who was wronged.

This can be your chance to help them understand what it truly means to forgive—that it’s not easy, that the person who wronged them needs their forgiveness, and, most importantly, that we forgive because, through Jesus, God has forgiven us too.


It’s worth the time for you and your spouse to talk through each of these six daily opportunities to point your child to Jesus. Decide what you want to convey ahead of time.

Of course, it will never go exactly according to script, but over time it will pay off as your child learns the vocabulary of grace and spiritual conversations become a natural part of family life.

About the Author

Appointed President of Haven Ministries in November 2023, David Wollen is thrilled to gradually assume the role of host for Haven Today in 2024. He resides in the greater Chicago area with his wife, Marci, and their three children. They are active leaders in their church, where David serves as an elder and part of the preaching team, and Marci leads women’s ministries. With a degree in Biblical Studies from Biola University, David is passionate about teaching God’s Word with God’s heart. He sees this as synonymous with Haven’s longtime tagline: “Telling the Great Story … it’s all about Jesus!”

Remember and Proclaim: Scripture Songs for Little Ones

Remember and Proclaim is a new collection of Scripture songs designed to help families know and sing truth to themselves and to each other.

As a husband and father of two, Adam Wright––singer and composer behind The Corner Room––is constantly looking for resources on how to incorporate the Bible into his family’s daily life. He wants his family to know it, treasure it, and sing it! This new project, Remember and Proclaim, is a collection of Scripture songs designed to help them redirect their hearts back to God’s love and what is true.

Amidst a wide range of emotions, Adam’s family finds themselves singing together as they remember God’s faithful words to them. May this be an effective tool to help families proclaim what is true!


There’s no shortage of kingdoms in children’s movies and books, and yet all of them pale in comparison to the Kingdom of God. But then why is it so often difficult to teach our kids that all of life and all of Scripture points to our one true king? Storybook author Tyler Van Halteren has some thoughts about how we can help the children our lives become more engaged in God’s Word.

Tyler Van Halteren is the author of the new Kingdom of God Bible Storybook. You might also recognize him for his work on the popular storybook adaptations of Pilgrim’s Progress called Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey. On today’s episode of the Great Stories Podcast, Charles Morris speaks with Tyler about how some of the Bible’s most often skipped over stories are also the ones that help children and adults begin to pray “Thy Kingdom Come.”


Take your family on a journey to discover the story of God’s kingdom from Genesis-Revelation in this beautiful set of books! The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook is perfect for children ages 4-12 with hundreds of vivid illustrations and engaging text. This two volume box set comes with with heirloom quality cloth hardcovers, gold foil, and a ribbon page marker.

What makes The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook different?

  • Faithful: Follows the text of Scripture without oversimplifying it or changing the meaning.
  • Thematic: Focuses on God’s covenant promises and the central theme of the Kingdom of God.
  • Christ-Centered: Every chapter points to the longing and need for the promised King to come.
  • In-Depth: Includes many important stories that are often skipped over.
  • Study Guides: Each chapter ends with a summary page with questions and Bible references.

We hope and pray this book will help your family know and enjoy the Bible together as you come to understand God’s kingdom in a clearer and deeper way.

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. 

From beginning to end, the Bible tells one unified story, written over thousands of years in sixty-six books. At the center of this greatest of all stories is the kingdom of God.

A kingdom may seem like a strange and foreign idea to you, and some people have strange ideas of what it might mean. To put it simply, God’s kingdom is the place where God reigns over the people he loves. But God doesn’t rule like other kings. Most kings are selfish and greedy, and they take from their people. God created this kingdom to give life and joy to his people.

As you open the first pages of the Bible, you’ll quickly learn that people are royal failures at living in God’s kingdom. Instead of living for God as our King, people often seek to steal his throne. The only way for God to form this kingdom—and for us to have any chance of entering it—is if he makes great promises to us. These promises are called covenants, and they’re the way God establishes his kingdom on earth.

Kingdom of God Bible Storybook Sample Images by Tyler Van Halteren

In The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook, God’s kingdom is summarized this way:

  1. God’s Presence: Just as God dwelt with Adam and Eve in Eden, he will dwell with his people forever.
  2. With God’s People: God made mankind in his image and called them to be fruitful and multiply. One day the whole earth will be filled with God’s people.
  3. In God’s Place: What began in the Garden of Eden will one day be expanded to the whole New Earth.
  4. Through God’s Promises: God’s covenants are the foundation of his Kingdom. All of his promises are fulfilled in Christ.

As we come to the end of the Bible, we see these four realities beautifully fulfilled in Revelation 21:1-4: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

One of my primary goals in writing this storybook Bible was to show how all of Scripture points to Jesus. He is the only one who can fulfill God’s promises and bring us into God’s kingdom. Each chapter focuses on the longing and need for the promised Savior to come. My ultimate prayer and hope is that this book will lead you and your children into a greater love for the King of kings and Lord of lords.

“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)

About the Author

Tyler Van Halteren founded Lithos Kids in 2020 afer seeing the impact 20-minute bedtime stories had on his son. He is the author of the Little Pilgrim series as well as The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook. Canadian by birth, Tyler previously served as a pastor in rural Ontario and later as a Bible professor in Cambodia. His growing young family now resides in Canada where he hopes to change the world through biblically faithful and beautifully illustrated books.

The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook: Box Set

Take your family on a journey to discover the story of God’s kingdom from Genesis-Revelation in this beautiful set of books! The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook is perfect for children ages 4-12 with hundreds of vivid illustrations and engaging text. This two volume box set comes with with heirloom quality cloth hardcovers, gold foil, and a ribbon page marker.

What makes The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook different?

  • Faithful: Follows the text of Scripture without oversimplifying it or changing the meaning.
  • Thematic: Focuses on God’s covenant promises and the central theme of the Kingdom of God.
  • Christ-Centered: Every chapter points to the longing and need for the promised King to come.
  • In-Depth: Includes many important stories that are often skipped over.
  • Study Guides: Each chapter ends with a summary page with questions and Bible references.

We hope and pray this book will help your family know and enjoy the Bible together as you come to understand God’s kingdom in a clearer and deeper way.

Seasons filled with challenges of various kinds are inevitable. But that shouldn’t leave us discouraged or even full of fear when these seasons come. As believers, you and I can hang onto the promises of God’s Word.

Here are three passages you can meditate on when the challenges of life come your way.

1) Psalm 91:11-13 

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Psalm 91 is a promise of protection, but it’s a promise of victory too. The Messiah will trample the serpent. Do you hear Genesis? God speaking to the Serpent: I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and hers, he will crush your head, you will bruise his heel. That’s Jesus. 

Psalm 91 is a psalm of comfort to us, because it tells us of Christ’s victory over Satan, not just the cross; his resurrection proclaims his victory too. We can take refuge in his finished work. We don’t have to bend to the enemy, we can rest in the fact that Christ has won. Not for himself, but for us. 

As you read Psalm 91 take refuge in the Lord, He’s done it, and He’ll continue to protect us from the enemy.

2) 2 Timothy 1:7 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

There are different kinds of fear. The outbreak of a virus, the loss of a job, broken relationships, and even loneliness. The Apostle Paul is telling us that the Lord has not given us a spirit of terror or a cowardly spirit.

He’s not given us a spirit that shrinks back in the face of fear. The Lord hasn’t given us a spirit of panic, a spirit that runs and hides, a spirit that leaves others to their own demise. Jesus entered our sick and dying world in order to save it. 

This is the Spirit the Lord has given us. By the power of the Spirit, Christians stand firm; we can move toward the panicked. We can glorify our Lord by turning to him in hope and prayer. He’s given us a spirit of power, a spirit of love, a spirit of sobriety so we can remain steadfast and love our neighbors as he calls us to love.

As you meditate on this verse, ask for the Lord to grow and strengthen you in spite of your fears.

3) ROMANS 8:38-39 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Do you believe these words? It’s easy to carry these words in our minds. It’s a lot harder to believe them in our hearts and actions. This great promise is something we all need to cling to, and not just because a virus is spreading throughout the globe. This is good news to us in any circumstance! 

We have the promise: nothing can separate us from the Lord’s love. Nothing can separate us, not disease or sickness or death. Not even our sin or the enemy. Nothing can come between us and the Lord, because the Lord takes care of His own. 

May this passage lead you to the Lord’s sovereign care. Christ alone saves and Christ alone protects.

This post first appeared on The Good Book blog; used with permission.

The following piece is an extract from 5 Things to Pray for Your Kids by Melissa Kruger. In the book Melissa suggests fresh, biblical ideas to help you pray for tots, teens and all ages between. Today we wanted to give you a sneak peek at what the book looks like. This chapter uses psalm 121 to help you pray for God’s care of your child…

Father, I pray that you will help my child by…

1. Encouraging me

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD” (Psalm 121 v 1).

Being a parent is a wonderful gift, but it is also difficult. There’s no owner’s manual to guide us in all the choices we face each day. Praise God that we can turn to him for the help we need! Pray that he will guide your steps and lead you as you parent today.

2. Watching over them

“He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121 v 3-4).

As parents, we are limited. Even with modern technology, we can’t watch our children at every moment (although we certainly try!). Thank God that he is always watching over them, and that he never slumbers or sleeps. Pray that your child will know God is with them, no matter where they go or what they face.

3. Providing refreshment

“ The LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night” (Psalm 121 v 5-6).

We all need a place of refuge. The world can be difficult and lonely. Pray that when life is hard for your child—when they experience a broken heart, a difficult illness, or a painful consequence—they will turn to the Lord and find comfort in him.

4. Keeping them from harm

“The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life” (Psalm 121 v 7).

While we want to keep our children safe, we know we are often powerless to protect them from skinned knees, harmful gossip, and their own mistakes. Pray that the Lord will use the trials they endure to draw them closer to himself, and that he will keep them from all that he sees is harmful.

5. Protecting their future

“ The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121 v 8).

Our children make choices each day. As they grow, these choices increase in significance. Pray that the Lord would guide your child in the future as they choose what to study, which church to be part of, who to marry, or what job to pursue.

About the Author:

Melissa Kruger is the author of Wherever You Go, I Want You to Know as well as several books for adults. She blogs at Wit’s End, hosted by The Gospel Coalition. Her husband, Mike, is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary, and they have three children.

5 Things to Pray for Your Kids

Our culture says that the most important things for children are education, good health, treats, entertainment, and material things.

Yet as Christians, we know that children’s spiritual health is the most important thing. So we need to pray for them, but where do we start?

This little guide is both deep and easy to use. Melissa Kruger takes us back to the Bible to show us what God’s will for children is, so we can pray in line with it.

She selects 21 key areas of spiritual growth and character development. For each one, there are five short prayer prompts drawn straight from the Bible.

How long would it take you to explain the whole Bible from start to finish? On today’s episode of the Great Stories Podcast, Charles Morris sets out to tell the whole story of redemption from Genesis to Revelation in less than 18 minutes.

Just as it’s good to zero in and study Scripture closely, it’s also good to zoom out for the big picture. The Bible is made up of 66 books written by 40 authors in three languages over 1500 years. That’s a lot to wrap our minds around. And so it is our prayer that this episode will give you a starting point for your own study of God’s Word. After the episode, we encourage you to look up the passages you find interesting, and then consider them closely within the context of the whole story of redemption … the results are life changing.

More Bible Explanations from Charles Morris

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Is there enough joy in your life? What about the lives of your children? When we turn to the book of Philippians, we’re struck by two things: it’s all about Jesus. And it’s all about joy.

On today’s episode, Charles Morris has a conversation with Randall Goodgame, creator of Slugs & Bugs and the catchy Sing the Bible albums. Randall has been writing music for more than a decade to help kids know the Bible better. Here, Randall talks about the joy he has found in Jesus, as well as how he wants to help you and me and the kids in our lives experience this joy as well.

More from Randall Goodgame

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

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.



I’m going to be real candid. There are some passages in scripture I just don’t like.

It’s probably because they force me to be the person God wants me to be and not the person I have a tendency to be.

To be clear, I most certainly believe the Bible is inherent. And I believe that everything in the Old and New Testament is “inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

But if I took a Jeffersonian view of the Bible, I’d cut out many passages that make me uncomfortable. For instance, I’m thinking of Proverbs 6:6: “You lazy fool, look at an ant…let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions.”

Great point. Even one of God’s smallest and simplest creatures understands, in some antian way, that it’s best not to consume everything in front of you.  Saving for later is a sound idea. But clearly, the writer never enjoyed the delicious wonder of a Thin Mint from the Girl Scouts. You store them in the fridge, and they’re just a little bite of heaven. When a box of those irresistibles land on my desk, it’s hard to resist pounding down an entire sleeve in one sitting. And yet Proverbs repeatedly speaks to deferring gratification, avoiding gluttony, and considering the long-term view.

Another verse that’s on my list is also from Proverbs 6: “So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed?”

Now having raised five children through the teen years, I can assure you I’ve said those exact words ad nauseam. But what the writer didn’t include was a suggestion I’d paste at the end of the verse: “…except when it’s a rainy, cool Saturday morning and Where Eagles Dare is on Turner Classic Movies.”

One last one that’s a real stickler.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus Himself issued this command: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”

I’d have to say that following this imperative is really difficult. At times I’ve been able to forgive people who have intentionally hurt me, and it usually requires a good deal of time to salve the wounds of hate.

But when I think about the battles raging in Iraq and a group of fanatical ISIS rebels who hate me, hate us, with a passion, that’s another thing. How do we love people who fervently want to see the overthrow of every western country, none the least of which is “America: The Great Satan.” It’s completely incomprehensible to me.

Love them? Really? These people are killing our brothers and sisters in Christ.  They’re torturing anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as they do. Their hateful venom is spewed across the Internet, demonstrated by horrific acts of murder, intent on terrorizing us.

Well, I’m grateful for Christians who are responding to that call of Jesus in a very practical way. I’m not sure I could. Samaritan’s Purse is expressing the love of Jesus to the people facing ISIS oppression. It’s no small feat and not without a good deal of danger.

I certainly applaud the work of Samaritan’s Purse. And I’m grateful for other ministries prompting and mobilizing others to support the effort. I’m also amazed, as always, at how the body of Christ responds to those affected by a host of tribulation all around the world.

That’s the way being a Christian should work. And I’m glad the call to “love our enemies” wasn’t cut from the pages of Scripture!

Jim Sanders serves as the Executive Vice President of Ambassador Advertising Agency. This article originally appeared on


Most people think about reading the Bible in a year, or in a lifetime. So where did 90 days come from? We interviewed Ted Cooper, the founder of the Bible in 90 Days program, to find out how he drew up three months as an appropriate time frame, and why this former skeptic even started to read the Bible. Find out and hear for yourself how God took ahold of Ted’s life through His word.

We all think about what we need to be doing and doing better in a brand-new year and that includes reading the Bible, doesn’t it?

For as many people who have now done this, there are still tens of millions, hundreds of millions, even billions of people who haven’t, so this is the crusade, this is the mission, to help all of God’s people read God’s word.

Tell us what was going on in your life when you even started to read the Bible.

This all started for me back in 1999. We were at a point where I was agnostic, my wife was agnostic, and we had three children at that point who were getting to the age where they were impressionable. And we decided that rather than have them grow up in a non-Christian household or in a household in which we were blatantly disavowing God and Jesus Christ, we thought, well gosh, you know, let’s let them go to church, be in Sunday School and make up their own minds. We had otherwise remained silent on the subject. So we decided to bundle them up, throw them in a car one Sunday, take them to a church that we knew had a great youth program, and that I had in fact attended as a child, and walked through the door with them. And as we joke now, that was our big mistake. Becky and I crossed the threshold ourselves.

You were Thomas. You were a doubter.

I had gone to church as a child, gone through in fact, even the confirmation process, but very much the kicking-and-screaming approach and did it more than anything else because it was going to make my parents happy. And I walked away from that. The bottom line was that we were agnostic, and I’ve always felt that the reason we were agnostic was we just weren’t brave enough to be atheists. We weren’t brave enough to say, “No, absolutely, there is no God.” But we just don’t think that there is one, and even if there is, why waste the time, frankly? Why waste our lives wondering about this thing that will never be proven, until in fact we die? That was very much my mindset. However, let’s don’t impose that thinking on our children. And if we were wrong, we didn’t want to impose that on them.

We joined a class called Discovery 101 that was led by a wonderful pastor by the name of Carl Hamilton, and a woman by the name of Susan Ray. They just did a wonderful job, for four weeks, of introducing what were prospective members of the church to the Christian faith, to the faith as practiced by that church. So we just went, and thought, “Well, we’ll see what they have to say.” And frankly, we would leave every week, kind of shaking our head, and going, boy, they’ve got this wrong. I remember vividly the opportunity to study the prodigal son. And Becky and I both left there thinking, “Wow, that’s just all about bad parenting.” But what did happen during this particular hour each week for four weeks, was that Carl Hamilton would ask a question, pose a question, that I just couldn’t answer, that my worldview couldn’t answer. And that would make me mad. And he suggested that the Christian worldview really did have the answer. This made me mad, it took me out of my comfort zone, and I wanted back in my comfort zone just as quickly as possible. The noodling that I did arrived at a point … and the plan was, I want to get back into my comfort zone, the way that I can do that is to actually read the book that’s supposed to tell me all about the Christian faith and I needed to do it and do it as quickly as possible so that I could go back to my disbelief and my own comfortable life.

Ted, how did you work this out? You’re a linear thinker, and you decided you wanted to check the book out to see if it was really true. 

I’m a businessman and I was used to thinking in terms of projects and I was used to thinking through things, how I make sure this project was going to be successful. This particular project was to read all of God’s word. I knew and had met plenty of people who had started out to read the entire Bible and the vast majority had failed. So I thought through the process of what kind of resource do I need, and that would mean a particular Bible, what would be the timeframe that would be successful for me, and in my case, I thought, “I won’t stick with it over a year.” And so 90 days made a lot of sense for me. I thought, “I can do anything for three months.”

It’s amazing that you did this, and went to all this trouble, to not believe in something—that you didn’t expect to be having any impact in your future or in your kid’s lives, either. But you started the project, and you started reading the Bible through in 90 days. So I guess, as they say, the rest is history, but what happened?

The first half, I was reading along. I was trying to be very open-minded about it. I didn’t want to go in with a defeatist attitude. I didn’t expect to have my mind changed by it, but I didn’t want to read it in such a way that I would clearly not have my mind changed by it. So with a fairly open mind, I started reading it. I kept reading it. I read 12 pages a day. And darned if halfway through, I didn’t realize that I was actually believing what I reading.

For anyone who’s never read the Bible all the way through, you were still in the Old Testament, you hadn’t even gotten to the New Testament yet, had you? 

I was still in the Old Testament, somewhere in Isaiah or Jeremiah. And you know, this was my first time through. I wasn’t keeping them straight, which one was which. But yes, in the Old Testament, and then back in the major prophets, which is not a particularly likely place to become a believer, but I did.

So you actually lost your agnosticism somewhere between Isaiah or Jeremiah. The spirit of the living God was actually speaking to you.

I believe so. I wouldn’t believe it before. But at this moment, this great revelation was, I believe this. It changed my life so dramatically and yet so subtly at the same time. When I woke up the next morning, I still had the same personality, I still had a lot of the same quirks and approaches to life and my compass had been changed. The big issue for me had been, I had always thought that I was in control. And once I accepted that there is a God, and that He sent his son to die for his sins, to be our savior, I had to accept that I wasn’t in charge but that he was in charge, is in charge. And if I’m going to have a life that has meaning, I better figure out what the creator’s plan for me is, and get with the picture.

I am so amazed. This is a risky thing. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior, you know in your heart that you’re not a believer, we’re going to ask you to do this, but you better be careful for what you ask for.

I think that’s what people’s big fear is. And I do understand it, coming from one side to the other. The neat thing that I can guarantee is that if you take the leap, you will not regret it. If we accept the notion that God created us, that He created this incredible universe, with wonderful blessings, and also horrible tragedies, then what we want to do, I believe, is be on His team. And if we’re not, then what we have to understand is, that we’re in a battle against the creator. And that doesn’t make any sense. We’re not going to win that battle. So as much as we may fear change at any point in time, the great thing is, he has wonderful plans in store for us.

And I can tell you, 13 years ago, I would have been very, very cynical if I heard somebody telling me. What I would just ask people, invite people, very heartily to do, is to go find out for yourself. That is a big part of what we think the mission of this ministry is, to help people find out for themselves what this wonderful scripture says. God gave us this gift. And most of us including the vast majority of Christians, have never fully unwrapped it. Please do. When you do, you get to respond to it. You get to decide whether it makes you happy, it makes you mad, it makes you knowledgeable, it confuses you. You go through this process, and I think you’re going to come out on the other end going, “Gosh, I’m glad I did that.”

As the leader of the 80-year-old 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, working for United Press International, and a former press secretary for two U.S. senators. After seminary, he started working in the Christian world, coming to Haven as the fourth speaker in 2000. He and his wife Janet are looking forward to their soon-to-be-released book Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story.