Archive for the 'Basics Of Faith' Category

Jesus asks you to “Take up your cross and follow Me.” Discover how you can bear that cross with a sense of courage, confidence, and victory. As we uncover the roots…

Jesus doesn’t settle for spiritual shortcuts—He has a total solution in mind for your problems. Yet when you come up with your own plans for “helping” Jesus, you’re guaranteed to find…

Discover the many ways Jesus is your Champion as you dig into God’s Word with teacher Joe Stowell. There are moments in life when you feel flat out overwhelmed, and you…

Although we’ve all encountered people with hardened hearts, sometimes the most difficult thing to accept is the hardness in our own hearts, as Dr. Stowell reveals in this powerful message on…

Is Jesus the ruler of every detail of your life? Putting the principles of heaven into practice doesn’t always come naturally! Joe Stowell draws on his own personal experience of learning…

Discover four traits that single you out as a member of God’s kingdom, as you join Joe Stowell in turning to Matthew 4:17. Last week you learned how to bring the…

In this continuing series on Matthew 4:17, you’ll be reminded that as a child of the King, you belong to His kingdom. Do the people around you get a taste of…

When you pray, “Your kingdom come,” do you really know what you’re asking for? Jesus tells us in Matthew 4:17 that the kingdom is coming, and He is the King. So…

Betrayal is a central element of the Easter story. As we prepare our hearts this week for the celebration of Easter, we join Joe Stowell in examining the events in John 13…

Are you going to compete with God’s plan, or converge with it? We all reach points in our life when we have to choose whether we’ll follow God’s plan, or our…

Discover two privileges you enjoy because you are found “in Christ” in this continuing message on 2 Corinthians 5:17. Last week you heard Joe Stowell define being “in Christ” as having…

We’ve all found ourselves using phrases like “in Christ.” But have you ever stopped to consider what those words really mean? Join Joe Stowell for this week’s message as you explore…

Discover what it means to live “inside out” in this continuing message on “The New Covenant.” As Joe Stowell explains, it’s easy—and dangerous—to slip into the habit of basing your faith…

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts,” the Lord declared in Jeremiah 31:33. With that powerful Old Testament promise, God laid the foundation for…

Why do you follow God’s law? Is it out of a sense of duty—or devotion to your Savior? Join Joe Stowell in exploring this fundamental question in your relationship with God…

Unwrap what it means to show God’s love to others—even those who don’t seem to deserve it. As Joe Stowell points out in this week’s message, it’s those unlovable people who…

Discover seven ways you can successfully practice God’s agape, or divine love with the people in your life. In this continuing message on “The New Community,” we’ve been looking at John…

Love was the focus of Christ’s last words to His disciples before going to the cross. Join Joe Stowell in turning to John 13 for a thought-provoking discussion about Jesus’ commandment…

Discover what it means to daily live out your identity as a “New Creation Person” as Joe Stowell wraps up his three-part message on 2 Corinthians 5:14-19. In the last two…

We live in a phenomenally broken world. And a natural response is for our hearts to cry out “God, can’t You somehow fix this for us?” In this message from the…

“Who am I?” We’ve all asked ourselves this question at some point in our lives. In these messages from the “All Things New” series, Joe Stowell makes the key point that…

Daddy, can I help you?” It was my four-year-old son, Matt, who was watching me carry cartons of empty pop bottles to the car. We could return them for a dime…

Above the joyful sounds of Christmas morning, as children open their presents in attack mode, you can usually hear someone older and wiser saying, “Don’t rip the paper. Save it for…

We talk a lot about hope. We hope the weather will be good for our family vacation. We hope that our favorite team will win the Super Bowl—or at least make…

A friend of mine, Bud Wood, founded Shepherds Home in Wisconsin for boys and girls with developmental disabilities. The original ministry opened its doors in 1964 to 36 children, providing them…

Interruptions are inevitable. It’s just the way life works. But, I keep asking myself, why is it that they come at such inopportune times? After listening to a zillion options in…

Engaged couples often spend hours poring over travel brochures and vacation Web sites looking for just the right honeymoon spot. They can hardly wait for their romantic getaway. But it’s not…

Victor Krutko came to Moody Bible Institute from Minsk, a town in Belarus. This gifted, passionate pastor and I have become good friends. I’ll never forget an episode with him as…

I love living where there are four seasons. But even though I love settling down with a good book by a crackling fire when it’s snowing, I must admit that my…

It’s a grandfather’s prerogative to tease his grandkids a little bit, right? So when one of my young grandkids is first learning math, I quiz him about his newfound knowledge. “Do…

In an ancient form of Chinese drama, plays were often performed on a two-level stage. On the first level, the drama would unfold in the natural sequence of the script, while…

Politicians are adept at “spinning” the details of a story to advance their own agenda. During a political campaign, spin doctors massage stories to ensure that their candidate is cast in…

One of my all-time favorite kid’s stories is Charlotte’s Web, starring Charlotte the barnyard spider and Wilbur the pig. The farmer’s daughter, Fern, loved Wilbur and adopted him as her pet—until…

Do you ever pay much attention to bumper stickers? I find them fascinating! You can be driving along and in one minute see a sticker that says, “My child is an…

My biology professor, Max Dowell, was an unapologetic southerner with a drawl as thick as deep-South molasses. And while I’m sorry to admit that I don’t remember a whole lot of…

Have you ever made a piece of toast, slathered it with butter and strawberry jam, and just as you’re about to take the first delicious bite, you drop it on the…

A short clip on the evening news recently featured a suburban high school’s attempt to address the spiraling epidemic of teenage drinking. The reporter attended a parents’ forum at the school…

When we meet Naomi in the Scriptures, her life is a mess. She and her husband had gone to Moab searching for food during a famine. While in that land, their…

Have you ever felt completely out of your comfort zone, totally removed from all that’s familiar? It’s the feeling of being displaced. We cherish familiar settings, places that we have grown…

When was the last time you looked into a kaleidoscope? Remember those long tubes, usually made of cardboard with hundreds of little colored beads at one end? Inside, a series of…

A few years ago a friend of mine joined the staff of a large and growing church. He had admired and respected the senior pastor of that particular church for years…

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. A highly anticipated Christmas shopping trip to the mall with our kids and my parents took a dramatic turn for the worst as we suddenly realized…

I’ll never forget my frustrating experience when I went to Chicago’s Union Station early one morning to pick up an elderly relative who was arriving by train. When I got there,…

It was a beautiful day except for the fact that after a sizzling front nine, my golf game had tanked big time. I felt embarrassed in front of the two other…

There are few things that bring greater energy and strength to our souls than the exercise of lifting praise and thanksgiving from our hearts to God’s. Gratitude has a uniquely wonderful…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving—by far and away my favorite holiday. I’m not sure why, except that it has always seemed so uncluttered. Fortunately it has escaped the commercialization of Halloween and Christmas….

Douglas Coupland is a best-selling author known for his books about cultural trends in America. In his book Life After God, he no doubt surprises his readers when he shares: Now…

After Rosie O’Donnell announced that she was “coming out of the closet,” I watched with interest as Bill O’Reilly interviewed her on his TV program, The O’Reilly Factor, during a feature…

Very few advertisements tout the benefits of growing old. In fact, an outsider studying our culture would surmise (perhaps accurately) that we are deathly afraid of growing old or, even worse,…

I wonder how many of us got tired of hearing our moms tell us, “Eat this, it’s good for you!” And you can bet that if it required a lot of…

Now that I have grandkids, I’m back into the classic children’s Bible stories. Wide-eyed stories like David and Goliath, Noah’s ark, and Jonah and the big fish quickly capture a child’s…

In case you haven’t noticed, our world has dramatically changed. At one time it would have been unthinkable that millions of unborn children would be murdered in America. There was a…

As a kid, I used to devour 3-D comic books, the kind that came with that special set of cardboard glasses. Without the glasses, the pages were blurry. But with the…

One of my favorite missionary stories is of a couple who, after decades of faithful service overseas, was returning back to the States. Their heart’s desire was to stay on the…

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that children’s nursery rhymes are a little bizarre? Take, for instance, the depressing tale of Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty sat on a…

In the apostle Paul’s day, Corinth was a major trading center, located just a few miles from two major seaports. As the largest city in ancient Greece, the city bustled with…

In a conversation with Billy Graham, I asked him what he thought needed to be changed in how we preach to people today compared to the way we preached to people…

A businessman buddy of mine has the proverbial “Midas” touch. It seems like every business venture he touches turns to gold. I’ll never forget the day he said to me, “Joe,…

The early days of November in America signals election time, when the politicians maneuver for votes and the people cast their ballot for their favorite candidates. And, like it or not,…

A lot of us long to see the day when our country returns to its moral foundations. Yet, as wonderful as it would be to see a nation reclaimed for God…

I love coconut. I always have! So, after an exhausting day in second grade, I found a bag of shredded coconut in the cupboard and devoured the whole thing. When my…

I grew up in a home with lots of wall plaques. One had a quotation by poet Claude Mermet that stands out in my mind: “Friends are like melons; let me…

There are a few hymns that I really like, and “Amazing Grace” is one of them. But somehow, like so many other familiar tunes, the weight of the words soon gets…

The little airfield affectionately referred to as “Kokomo International” is hardly the bustling hub of a major metropolis. But it was my best option for getting to Grand Rapids, where I…

Long before the US professional baseball season begins each spring, team owners and managers are busy negotiating trades and contracts. They’ll pay large sums of money to get the athlete who…

One of my all-time favorite memories about our kids was the time my then 7-year-old daughter Libby asked, “Daddy, are we famous?” My immediate response was, “No, Libby, we’re not famous.”…

Have you ever felt the pull of past comforts, wishing things could go back to the way they used to be? Imagine how Abraham felt. Having once lived in Ur of…

When Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?”—He wasn’t having an identity crisis nor was He feeling insecure about His reputation. He passed out the quiz to see…

If I asked the question, “Where’s Waldo?” you might recall those popular children’s picture books from the 1980s. That little guy in the red-and-white-striped shirt and hat loved to hide in…

Quite frankly, I’m “out” on posh restaurants that have things on the menu you can’t even pronounce and nothing to show for it but two bites of fish and an empty…

I was seated next to Billy Graham at a dinner in North Carolina. I don’t know how you would have felt, but, given the circumstances, I wanted to be sure to…

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you know that his heroes always have a serious character flaw. I guess it’s what makes for a good story—and teaches some important lessons too….

I was guest preaching at a church when a woman who had waited in line to talk to me told me that she was thinking about leaving the church because the…

On my way home one night, I noticed a glow of flashing lights about a half mile up the road. As I got closer, I saw several emergency vehicles on the…

An estimated 40 million Americans view Internet pornography on a regular basis. The average age of exposure is 11. What’s worse yet is that 47 percent of Christians polled said that…

It’s not uncommon to see some familiar heroes come back to the silver screen. Sylvester Stallone was back in action as Rambo, reprising his role from over 20 years ago. And…

In the summer of 2006, the Prime Minister of Japan visited the US for high-level meetings with our President. Or at least that’s what I thought. Sure, he was here to…

Learning more about myself is not always a pleasant experience. Introspection often compounds my insecurities and doubts. Trips into my inner self can expose memories of past failures and resurrect fears…

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir in concert. Nearly 200 people who had been redeemed out of the bowels of Brooklyn—former crack addicts and prostitutes…

We’ve all heard the prayer: “Lord, make me more patient—and do it now!” Of all the spiritual virtues, patience is one that tends to be troublingly elusive. Let’s face it; if…

Have you ever felt that if God were to show up today as often as He did in the lives of the people in Bible times, you too could be a…

Recently, I read a disturbing quote from a pastor of a large church in California. He said, “I used to believe that we should ask Muslims to accept Christ as their…

My wife usually has to remind me to take out the garbage on trash pick-up days. It’s not one of my favorite jobs, but I muster up the determination to get…

The news from our mechanic threatened to scuttle our plans. A suspicious rattling noise prompted me to take our clunker of a car to the shop a day before we were…

“What on earth are you doing?!” You may have heard that phrase when your mom told you to clean your room and found you playing with your toys instead, or maybe…

What got you out of bed this morning (besides the lure of a hot cup of coffee)? If you’re like me, you finally pulled yourself out of bed because you’ve got…

Let me introduce you to a friend of mine. Arloa Sutter grew up on a farm in Iowa. One of her fond memories from her time on the farm was spawned…

I love my garden. But living in the Midwestern US during winter reduces my beautiful garden to a frozen, snow-covered, barren landscape. It wasn’t like that in Eden. Eden was a…

When my wife Martie says, “Could you run to the grocery store for me?” I always want to know what it is she wants me to get. After asking the question,…

Madame Blueberry, Veggie Tales heroine of materialism, loves shopping at the “Stuff-mart.” Her problem, however, is that her treetop cottage soon becomes so overstuffed that the tree collapses under the weight…

Life has a way of driving our faith dangerously close to the edge. What we expect from God so often seems to contradict what we experience in life. We find ourselves…

My wife, Martie, and I have some items of worth around our house that sit on mantles or behind glass doors. They are things we have collected over the years, things…

There’s lots of talk about Jesus these days. From The Da Vinci Code debate to Jesus’ claims to be the only way to the Father (John 14:6), there’s nothing like a…

Several years ago my wife Martie and I had the unique experience of going on a camel safari in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. We rocked back and forth…

I love the scene in the movie version of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Lucy encounters the faun, Mr. Tumnus. As Lucy extends her hand to…

Most of us can blow through three dollars without even thinking twice. It’ll get you a cup of Starbucks, a few snacks for a road trip, or a squeak toy for…

I once saw Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz on a popular news talk program. The interviewer asked, “Are you one of those who believe that Jesus is exclusively the only…

Do you remember how old-time TV shows used to have an applause meter to gauge audience reactions? A big arrow would spin around the dial to show how enthusiastic the crowd…

If you live near a big city, no doubt you’ve been caught in the torturous experience of creeping along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This can be particularly annoying if you are in…

On a recent vacation, Tom was casually bobbing around on a raft just offshore. He closed his eyes, basking in the warm sun. Before he realized it, he had drifted too…